Bill O’Reilly has filed a defamation lawsuit against Michael Panter, a former two-term New Jersey General Assemblyman, who, in a Facebook post, claimed O’Reilly intimidated his ex-girlfriend.
In his post, published Tuesday, Panter writes about how O’Reilly called his ex, who had settled her own harassment suit against O’Reilly, and tried to get her to give up information on another woman who was planning to sue the former Fox News host. Panter says O’Reilly called his ex while they were sitting in his car. “I heard every word, as we sat in the car with the windows up,” he wrote.
He explained that a new accuser was suing him for sexual harassment. This latest victim was someone my ex knew, and lived in the same complex. He got to the point immediately: give me anything you have on this woman, which we “can use against her.” He asked if anything was known about her sex life. He asked if she used any illegal drugs. He also asked if anything was known about her financial situation and marriage. In essence, the leadership of Fox, including their “HR” head/counsel and O’Reilly, who held my ex’s career in their hands (and whom O’Reilly was also harassing) was demanding information to attack another victim.
Today, O’Reilly sued accusing Panter of “making defamatory and false statements in a publicly available social media post.” O’Reilly is seeking $5 million in damages.
In response, Panter writes, “I am speaking the truth, and expect my account to be fully corroborated. After discussing this matter with a leading firm, I believe there is a strong basis to bring defamation claims against Mr. O’Reilly.”
When O’Reilly returned to Fox News last month, on Sean Hannity‘s show, he said he regretted not fighting his April dismissal over sexual harassment complaints. “I have to give you all the credit in the world,” O’Reilly said to Hannity, “you fought back when they came after you last spring. I didn’t. And I should have.”
Here is Panter’s post: