Bill O’Reilly’s ex-wife swore in an affidavit that the disgraced Fox News host brutally assaulted her in their Long Island home after she discovered him half-naked and engaging in phone sex, Jezebel has learned.
In the affidavit, which was signed and notarized on October 10, 2011, and later entered as an exhibit in the couple’s divorce proceedings, O’Reilly’s ex-wife Maureen McPhilmy O’Reilly described a sudden spasm of violence on a night in December 2009.
According to McPhilmy’s account, she discovered O’Reilly engaging in phone sex in their bedroom at roughly 10:30 p.m. one evening. O’Reilly then “flew into a fit of rage” and slammed her into a nearby wall, leaving a hole one foot across. He then, the affidavit claims, wrapped his arms around her shoulders, neck, and hands to immobilize her, and violently dragged her out of the bedroom and down a hallway on the second floor of their 4,600-square-foot, $2.4 million home in Manhasset, New York.
O’Reilly went on, the affidavit claims, to drag McPhilmy by the neck down a flight of stairs and through the kitchen, as McPhilmy screamed that he was hurting her. In the kitchen, the affidavit claims, a security guard assigned to protect O’Reilly and his family saw what was going on, at which point O’Reilly stopped the attack. When the guard asked her if she wanted to report the incident to the police, she declined, McPhilmy added.
The guard was startled by O’Reilly’s appearance, McPhilmy wrote, because he was naked from the waist down while attacking her.
The affidavit makes the claim that O’Reilly was engaged in “phone sex,” but doesn’t identify the party on the other end of the phone. At least two former Fox News employees have alleged that O’Reilly harassed them with unwanted phone calls during which he seemed to be masturbating. Andrea Mackris, the former O’Reilly Factor producer who sued her boss in 2004, claimed that O’Reilly repeatedly bragged about his phone-sex prowess, and said she heard O’Reilly masturbating during one of their own phone conversations. Mackris had apparently recorded some of their conversations, and O’Reilly settled with her for a reported $9 million.
Another woman who worked with O’Reilly at Fox News, the on-air personality Juliet Huddy, alleged in a draft letter written by her attorneys that O’Reilly made “highly inappropriate and sexual” phone calls to her. “On some occasions,” according to the New York Times, those calls “sounded as if O’Reilly was masturbating.” (The legal news site LawNewz.com, which broke the story about the draft letter, alluded to “certain lurid allegations against O’Reilly” without describing them in detail.) Huddy reached a settlement with Fox News’ parent company in September for $1.6 million.
Gawker first reported nearly two years ago that, according to court transcripts from the O’Reilly’s divorce proceedings, the couple’s daughter told a court-appointed forensic examiner that she had witnessed O’Reilly “choking” her mother on at least one occasion. It’s unclear whether the incident described by McPhilmy is the same one witnessed by her daughter.
In response to the Gawker report from 2015, O’Reilly released a statement saying, “All allegations against me in these circumstances are 100% false. I am going to respect the court-mandated confidentiality put in place to protect my children and will not comment any further.” His lawyers eventually confirmed the transcripts published by Gawker were real—calling them “confidential facts”—in filings related to O’Reilly’s $10 million lawsuit against McPhilmy’s former lawyer.
O’Reilly’s divorce and custody battle with McPhilmy has been lengthy and bitter, and O’Reilly has gone to extraordinary lengths to discredit, frustrate, and outmaneuver McPhilmy. In 2010, after he learned that she was dating a Nassau County Police detective named Jeffrey Gross (they are now married), O’Reilly used his connections at the department to target Gross with an internal affairs investigation.
The custody agreement between the two, made final in 2011, stipulated that a neutral therapist would arbitrate their disputes. O’Reilly, however, began paying that therapist a six-figure salary to care for the children while he had custody of them. He also sought to have the Catholic Church annul their marriage, and McPhilmy has been reprimanded by her church for telling her children that her new marriage is valid in the eyes of God. According to court transcripts, O’Reilly has told his daughter that their mother is “an adulterer” and that spending time in her home will “ruin her life.”
McPhilmy won residential custody of her son and daughter in February 2016.
In April 2016, O’Reilly sued McPhilmy for $10 million, apparently alleging that she fraudulently induced him to agree to a divorce (the precise nature of the allegations is unclear because O’Reilly has prevailed upon the judge to seal the case; Gizmodo Media Group is seeking to unseal it). O’Reilly won, apparently by default judgment, and is seeking to collect. In December, O’Reilly filed a similar lawsuit against McPhilmy’s former divorce attorney, Michael Klar.
Rumors of the contents of McPhilmy’s affidavit have circulated in the New York City media world for some time, but took on a new urgency after advertisers boycotted The O’Reilly Factor—the direct result of an April 1 New York Times investigation into multiple allegations of sexual harassment against O’Reilly, and the secret settlements with which he and Fox purchased the accusers’ silence.
A source familiar with the details of O’Reilly and McPhilmy’s child-custody case told Jezebel that Times reporters are in possession of the affidavit and that the paper’s editors have been debating whether to report on its contents.
“Not something we will comment on,” a spokesperson for the Times told Jezebel. “We don’t discuss the process of reporting.”
One Times staffer reached by Jezebel declined to say whether the newspaper had obtained the affidavit, but confirmed that there has been an active discussion about whether or not to cover details about O’Reilly and McPhilmy’s divorce and custody dispute.
O’Reilly was forced out at Fox News on April 19, losing a powerful platform. But even without his show, he remains an enormously influential—and profitable—media force. In 2015, Forbes reported that while he was better known as a Fox host, “O’Reilly is making almost as much [money] from his historical books, including Killing Lincoln and Killing Kennedy.” The magazine estimated his net worth to be $24.2 million.
Henry Holt, the publisher that counts O’Reilly as one of the biggest stars in its roster, has refused to sever ties with him in the wake of the newest sexual harassment allegations. The publisher did not respond to Jezebel’s emailed questions regarding the allegations in McPhilmy’s affidavit. Instead, a spokesperson provided the same statement given to other outlets after Fox News cut ties with O’Reilly: “Our plans have not changed.”
McPhilmy did not respond to an email by presstime; her attorney declined to comment. Neither O’Reilly nor his attorney responded to requests for comment by presstime.
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This post was produced by the Special Projects Desk of Gizmodo Media Group.