Bill O’Reilly Just Quietly Dropped His Lawsuit Threat Against Man Who Accused Him Of Sexual Harassment

It’s been a tough week for former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly. He tried to quietly back out of a lawsuit threat against Michael Panter, a man who defended his ex-girlfriend against O’Reilly’s sexual harassment lies. Unfortunately for O’Reilly, he wasn’t able to quietly drop his threat because Panter and his attorneys have released statements.

O’Reilly threatened a $5 million lawsuit against Panter for “making defamatory and false statements in a publicly-available social media post.” However, O’Reilly and his attorneys never actually filed the complaint that would have moved the case forward. I wonder why…

Panter is a former New Jersey State Assemblyman and the ex-boyfriend of one of the women who accused O’Reilly of sexual harassment. The woman was bound by a non-disclosure agreement, but that didn’t stop Panter from speaking out.

“I read a blurb today that referenced her being bound by a non-disclosure agreement,” wrote Panter. “However, I hear O’Reilly spinning his falsehoods almost daily. This week he again said he did nothing wrong, while suggesting he’s been persecuted and had very few complaints “to Human Resources” during his decades at Fox. Bill should be aware that not everyone is bound by a non-disclosure … I am not.”

“My ex’s career was largely dependent on staying in O’Reilly’s good graces,” Panter wrote. “For that reason, she was always hesitant to tell me some details — likely out of fear than I could jeopardize her career by becoming involved. Sometimes information would slip out.” (CNN)

Panter hired powerful law firm The Bloom Firm to represent him. Lisa Bloom said that O’Reilly failed to follow through on his threat, so they moved to dismiss the case on October 30. A week later, O’Reilly “capitulated” and “voluntarily” dismissed his case.

Her law firm said in a press release on Tuesday that “As soon as The Bloom Firm appeared in the case, announced it would fight, and moved the case to federal court, O’Reilly and his attorneys went silent.” (Law & Crime)

Lisa Bloom said this about Michael Panter.

“Here was a man standing up for women in the #MeToo movement. We need more men like Michael Panter! So I immediately decided to represent him in this case,” Bloom said. “In my opinion, Bill O’Reilly is a bully who attempted to use the legal system to generate publicity for himself and to scare a decent man into retracting his support of O’Reilly’s accusers.”

“He failed. The bully backed down when Michael Panter and our legal team stood up to him,” Bloom added. “We are delighted to have achieved this complete and total win for Michael Panter!”

Michael Panter released the following statement.

I spoke out against Bill O’Reilly on behalf of the women he had reportedly silenced, and countless others who have never had their voices heard. He learned today that no amount of wealth or fame can silence the truth when people with shared principles band together. This fight was not about me, but the rights of victims and their loved ones to speak up without fear.

I am deeply grateful to everyone who offered their support. We need meaningful change in our legal system, since the complexity and cost of litigation exclude too many from finding justice. Mr. O’Reilly used our courts as his own public relations tool, hoping those challenges would scare me away. They didn’t. He has withdrawn his case after seeing our arguments and knowing he was one 1 week away from answering them before a federal judge.

If I serve New Jersey in public office again, I will focus on ensuring that that there is a steep price to pay for bringing frivolous lawsuits – whether for press, intimidation or to make a quick buck. This is a perversion of our justice system which is funded by our tax dollars. Finally, I want to thank Lisa Bloom, Anna Levine-Gronningsater and Arick Fudali for their tireless work on my behalf. Lisa possesses a rare mix of legal expertise and a genuine devotion to her clients that is invaluable to any David facing a Goliath.

This week Goliath fell.

What does O’Reilly dropping the lawsuit threat mean? It could be implied that he knows he’s guilty (we’re not saying that, just questioning why he dropped it). If he genuinely had a suit, wouldn’t he have actively pursued it? We’ll probably never find out the truth.

Featured image via Wikimedia