Lisa Bloom 'Disturbed' By Bill O'Reilly's Lawsuit Against Accuser's Ex-Boyfriend




 

High-profile attorney Lisa Bloom said she was "surprised" and "very disturbed" to hear Bill O'Reilly had filed a $5 million lawsuit over a Facebook post written by the ex-boyfriend of a woman who accused O'Reilly of sexual harassment.

The former Fox News star announced in October that he plans to sue Michael Panter for defamation. Panter, a former New Jersey assemblyman, published a lengthy Facebook post that described O'Reilly sexually harassing his then-girlfriend and probing her for information about another accuser.

Bloom, who has built a career advocating for women's rights and defending victims of sexual harassment, has agreed to represent Panter.

"[It's] very interesting that somebody who purports to be a journalist ― Bill O'Reilly ― would want to suppress speech," Bloom told HuffPost. "This is not right. This is not acceptable."

Bloom is no stranger to legal battles with O'Reilly. In April, she represented three women who had publicly accused him of sexual harassment. Days later, amid fierce backlash over the mounting allegations against him, Fox News announced it was cutting ties with O'Reilly.

O'Reilly, who has reached multimillion-dollar settlements with several of his accusers, has denied all of the allegations and has claimed he's the victim of a "witch hunt."

Now, he's asking for no less than $5 million in damages for "the public hatred, ridicule, disgrace, and permanent harm to his professional and personal reputations as a result" of Panter's Facebook post. The post detailed several alleged instances in which O'Reilly demonstrated inappropriate behavior, including masturbating during phone calls with Panter's then-girlfriend without her consent.

"I can't imagine [O'Reilly] thinks he's going to win this case," said Bloom, noting that O'Reilly would not only have to prove Panter intentionally lied about him, but would also have to provide evidence that the post hurt him financially.

"At the time of the post, O'Reilly had already lost his job at Fox News," she said. "Nothing has happened to him as a result of [Panter's] Facebook post. ... I just don't think it's likely that he can prove his case."

O'Reilly's legal team filed the initial "notice of summons" last month, but hasn't yet taken any further steps to move the case forward, Bloom said. She added that O'Reilly never reached out to Panter before filing a lawsuit against him and that he still hadn't specified what he believes to be defamatory in Panter's post.

Mark Fabiani, a spokesman for O'Reilly, told HuffPost on Monday that he didn't have "any developments to report" regarding the lawsuit.

Bloom said lawsuits like the one O'Reilly has filed against Panter can deter some women from speaking out against their harassers or abusers, despite the growing wave of sexual misconduct allegations against entertainers, media personalities and politicians.

"Their number one fear is that they're going to get sued for defamation by these wealthy, powerful guys," Bloom said of potential accusers. "This is the club that a bully can wield."

Panter has not publicly identified the ex-girlfriend he described in the post and acknowledged Monday that he hadn't asked her permission before writing it. Still, he said he felt that he had made the right choice in telling the story.

"I was raised to believe that the truth is important and that our justice system is not for the rich and powerful to suppress the truth," Panter said. "I think that we're in pivotal moment in time where we can continue to speak up and continue to shed light on these issues or folks can be intimidated back into silence. ... This is about a bigger principle than just me."

Read Panter's original Facebook post about O'Reilly below.

COMMENTS

More Related News

Ben Affleck Addresses Sexual Misconduct Allegations:
Ben Affleck Addresses Sexual Misconduct Allegations: 'I Don't Remember It, I Don't Think She's Lying'

'I didn't understand what it's like to be groped, harassed, to be interrupted, talked over, paid less, pushed around, belittled.'

Senate Dems Leave No Room For Ambiguity In Denouncing Al Franken
Senate Dems Leave No Room For Ambiguity In Denouncing Al Franken

Democratic senators were unequivocal on Thursday in their calls for an investigation into sexual assault allegations against Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.),

Gordon Rees Partner Steps Down After
Gordon Rees Partner Steps Down After 'Hannity' Comments

Mercedes Colwin, a litigator at Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani, has stepped down from her role as managing partner of the firm's New York office following her controversial appearance in a segment that aired last week on Fox News.

Fox News
Fox News' Hannity decides not to pass judgment on Roy Moore

After giving Moore 24 hours to explain multiple allegations of sexual abuse, the Fox News host now says it's not his place to judge the Alabama Senate candidate.

Shep Smith Breaks From Fox News Coverage, Tears
Shep Smith Breaks From Fox News Coverage, Tears 'Uranium One' Scandal To Shreds

Fox News anchor Shep Smith broke from his network's hyperventilating coverage of the "Uranium One" pseudoscandal to debunk allegations of wrongdoings by Hillary Clinton.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Latin America

facebook
Hit "Like"
Don't miss any important news
Thanks, you don't need to show me this anymore.