Roughly three weeks before the 2004 presidential election came an October surprise of sorts, not one that damaged either political party but one that dropped like a bomb in the media’s proxy war. Bill O’Reilly was sued by Factor associate producer Andrea Mackris, who in her complaint alleged years of quid pro quo sexual harassment from her boss, who played “a morally upright, independent political pundit” on television but had a proclivity for one-sided phone sex.
In a children’s book released a month earlier, the Fox News host wrote, “Thanks to some of the loonier films and magazines today, many of you know a lot about unusual sexual practices.” The allegations against him proved enlightening as well, when the complaint was published by the Smoking Gun: Mackris, 33, alleged the blunt talking head urged her to “just use your vibrator to blow off steam” and bragged about his international sexual exploits, including, but not limited to, “a little short brown woman” in a Bali massage cabana, two “really wild” Scandinavian stewardesses, and a Thai-sex-show “backroom” special. O’Reilly allegedly touched himself while detailing a shower fantasy featuring Mackris and “that little loofah thing” but later in the call, evidently flustered, referred to the prop as a “falafel thing.” When he was finished, Mackris said, O’Reilly praised his own recent appearance on the Tonight Show. Details all out, the suit was settled about two weeks later, while the audiotapes Makris was thought to have were kept secret. O’Reilly’s ratings were reportedly up 30 percent.