After Fox News revealed it would be terminating longtime host Bill O’Reilly Wednesday, April 19, a new accuser has stepped out to share how she was not only harassed sexually by O’Reilly but racially, too.
Perquita Burgess was a temp worker at Fox News in 2008 and she said O’Reilly’s unwanted sexual behavior began about a week and a half after she started her job.
“He always walked past my desk and he made, like, a grunting noise,” Burgess says on “The View” Thursday, April 20, noting O’Reilly wouldn’t say hello to her. “As time went on, I noticed everytime he walked past my desk, if no one was around, he would make that noise.”
Burgess, who was working with one of O’Reilly’s colleagues, said she felt embarrassed by O’Reilly’s actions and avoided eye contact.
Three or four weeks later, Burgess and O’Reilly were on an elevator alone together. When he let her get off first, he remarked, “Looking good there, girl.”
“The hairs rose on the back of my neck,” Burgess tells the panel. “After that, I was on the defense.”
She said O’Reilly would approach her desk, leer at her and look at her cleavage.
“I just stopped looking at him, paying him any attention because it made me feel uncomfortable,” Burgess says. “It was like street harassment in the office.”
One day after lunch, Burgess recalled O’Reilly walked past her and said, “Hey Hot Chocolate” without looking at her.
“I didn’t respond,” she says. “I was mortified because not only was it sexual, I took that as a very plantational remark. I’ve been around enough racism, whatever. But, such a blatant person with such a high profile making me feel uncomfortable but then not even acknowledging me …”
Burgess said she told her friends and family about the incidents. She said she did not report O’Reilly’s behavior to Fox News because she wasn’t an employee, and she avoided telling her agency because she didn’t want to ruin their relationship with the cable network.
Co-host Sunny Hostin said Burgess was outspoken about O’Reilly’s behavior on social media in 2010, sharing a tweet where Burgess described O’Reilly in a poor light and said that he “likes Black women.”
Lisa Bloom, Burgess’ attorney, said Burgess and the two other accusers she represents “have not asked for a dime” in the case. Bloom said that aids in the case’s credibility.
“I was tired of reliving the trauma every time I saw a woman speak out,” Burgess explains as to why she decided to share her story now. “I wanted to save [O’Reilly] from doing it to anyone else. I was mortified. I did not want to, I was very afraid because I don’t want the skeptics. When you tell your truth, it’s your truth. And, when people question it, it pisses you off.”
After years of women accusing O’Reilly of sexual harassment — an after spending $13 million in settlements to those women — Fox News finally fired the host of “The O’Reilly Factor.”
“After a thorough and careful review of the allegations, the Company and Bill O’Reilly have agreed that Bill O’Reilly will not be returning to the Fox News Channel,” Fox News’s parent company 21st Century Fox said in a statement.
Burgess said she felt “triumphant” when she heard the news.
“It’s very cathartic,” she says. “Very cathartic.”