CNN was “extremely close to filing a motion to unseal” Bill O’Reilly’s divorce records amid growing outrage about the Fox News hosts’s sexual harassment settlements, the reported Friday.
The network is now “leaning against” pushing to obtain O’Reilly’s “very private information,” the report added.
CNN has closely covered O’Reilly since a New York Times report early this month revealed that five women had received a combined $13 million to settle sexual harassment allegations against the “O’Reilly Factor” host.
More than 90 companies have pulled their ads in the week following the Times report, leading to speculation around O’Reilly’s future at the network.
O’Reilly separated from Maureen McPhilmy in April 2010. Now-defunct Gawker published a report in 2015 that included some scandalous elements around a custody battle, which CNN media reporter Brian Stelter has characterized as “ugly proceedings.”
O’Reilly dismissed the Gawker report at the time in 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.”
A New York appellate court in February affirmed a prior decision to keep the divorce records under wraps.
The Hollywood Reporter also cites a brief submitted by O’Reilly’s legal team in January, noting “extreme emotional distress” his teenage children have experienced as a consequence of past media scrutiny.
O’Reilly is currently on vacation reportedly in Italy and at The Vatican. He has taken vacations around the Easter holiday in the past.
The network says the 67-year-old host will be back on April 24.