After 17 years, Andrea Mackris, the former Fox producer who accused Bill O’Reilly of sexual harassment, is breaking her silence.
“I may not get the past 17 years back, but there is one way I can retrieve my power from this storm of lies, loss, greed, and grief,” Mackris told The Daily Beast earlier this month, describing her decision to abrogate the $9 million non-disclosure agreement she signed back in 2004.
But Bill O’Reilly, who eventually lost his job at Fox but has been mounting a comeback in recent years, is determined to put a stop to Mackris’s revelations.
According to TDB, O’Reilly sought and obtained a restraining order from the New York State Supreme Court in Nassau County last night, arguing that “Mackris intends to further materially breach her legal obligations tomorrow morning, live on national television.” ATL has been unable to verify the order, which does not appear on the court’s website and may have been filed under seal.
Likewise, the events as laid out by Diana Falzone are somewhat confusing.
Mackris was scheduled to appear Wednesday morning on ABC’s daytime talk show The View, but on Tuesday evening O’Reilly was granted a temporary restraining order against his ex-staffer, effectively canceling her TV hit in the process.
“We were notified late yesterday about a temporary restraining order issued by a court against Andrea Mackris. We decided to postpone her interview pending further developments,” an ABC spokesperson said in a statement to The Daily Beast. “We look forward to welcoming her to The View at a later date.”
So ABC, which was not a party to the suit, canceled an appearance by Mackris after being “notified” of the order’s existence? Even though Mackris herself was never served with the order?
“I have not been served with anything, but apparently Bill O’Reilly was able to interfere with my appearance on The View,” Mackris told The Daily Beast on Wednesday morning. “I hope the days of the law allowing the silencing of women are over. I will continue to fight for my voice.”
But somehow The Daily Beast, whom O’Reilly accused in court of “coaching” Mackris, does have a copy of the order?
Bizarrely, the restraining order was not served directly on Mackris. Instead, O’Reilly’s counsel suggested The Daily Beast should forward the court documents to her—a scenario shot down by the court, which wrote that O’Reilly’s team must notify the former producer.
We have questions. Like WTF is going on here? Has O’Reilly sued The Daily Beast for daring to air Mackris’s allegations? And is this a case of a state court judge blundering into a First Amendment morass? And what is the price of speaking your truth?
Because it’s all well and good for Mackris to say “My act of breaking [the NDA] is almost an act of self-defense. You know, it’s like, no matter what [O’Reilly] tries to do to me, I’m going to be OK.” But $9 million is a whole lot of money, and that’s before she has to hire counsel for an actual self-defense in court.
It’s a hot, confusing mess. And the sooner somebody sends a copy of that restraining order to email@example.com, the better.
UPDATE: The Hollywood Reporter got more details and a copy of the TRO and supporting Memorandum of Law. O’Reilly claims the right to settle any dispute in sealed arbitration, and Mackris was enjoined from further violation until a show cause hearing on the 26th. It’s … still unclear why third parties got notice of the proceeding before the respondent.
O’Reilly Silences Accuser Again, Blocks ‘View’ Appearance [The Daily Beast]
Elizabeth Dye lives in Baltimore where she writes about law and politics.