6 months ago
Emily Steel and her New York Times colleague Michael S. Schmidt were the reporters behind the explosive six month-long investigation into Fox News that ultimately led to the ouster of Bill O’Reilly.
It was their reporting that revealed repeated multi-million dollar settlements involving extensive allegations by a number of women charging O’Reilly of sexual harassment and other inappropriate behavior. Now, Marie Claire is going behind the scenes at the Times to do their own reporting about Steel, a journalist who was personally threatened by O’Reilly two years ago.
“I am coming after you with everything I have,” O’Reilly said at the time in an on-the-record phone call over Steel’s reporting on his exaggerated claims about covering the Falklands War in the 1980s. (He was actually covering protests in Buenos Aires, which was more than 1,000 miles away from where he said he was.) “You can take it as a threat.”
Today, O’Reilly has less clout to be intimidating. He’s been ousted from the network, with a payout rumored to be somewhere in the ballpark of $25 million, or one year of his annual salary, after the Times report caused more than 50 advertisers to publicly drop ‘The O’Reilly Factor.’ The network fired O’Reilly shortly thereafter.
But Steel was careful to clarify to Marie Claire that her reporting wasn’t conducted out of spite.
“I’m not a vengeful person,” she told the magazine. “We did not do this story to be vindictive, or even to take him down. That wasn’t our purpose. Our purpose was to tell these women’s stories, to expose his history, and to show how the company had protected him.”