Every once in a while, karma strikes — and even high-powered news anchors like Bill O'Reilly can't avoid it. New York Times journalist Emily Steel, whose reporting got O'Reilly fired, was in fact once the subject of one of his threats.
In 2015, an article appeared in Mother Jones alleging that O'Reilly had lied about his coverage of the Falklands War between the United Kingdom and Argentina. Both O'Reilly and Fox News disputed the allegations.
O'Reilly had on many occasions described having reported from the Falkland Islands or from the middle of the war zone, but according to Mother Jones' reporting, he had supposedly never actually made it to the Falklands, and the situation on the ground in Buenos Aires, where he actually was, was far less violent than he had described.
In a statement to the New York Times, a Fox News spokesperson said, “Fox News Chairman and C.E.O. Roger Ailes and all senior management are in full support of Bill O’Reilly." And O'Reilly had a response of his own. Though he had previously claimed to have never said he worked from the Falkland Islands, he insisted after the Mother Jones piece was published, "I said I covered the Falklands war, which I did."
Steel then tried to follow up on that story with some work of her own. O'Reilly, on the defensive, threatened her in an on-the-record phone conversation. “I am coming after you with everything I have,” O’Reilly said. “You can take it as a threat.” But now, the story has really come full circle, and not in the way that the fiery Fox News anchor might have wanted. It turns out that Steel was one of the reporters who wrote the story that eventually took O'Reilly down.
This is not the only time O'Reilly allegedly threatened a woman. Former Fox associate producer Andrea Mackris allegedly said O'Reilly told her that any woman who complained about his behavior would "pay so dearly that she’ll wish she’d never been born.” O'Reilly and Fox News both vehemently denied all of Mackris' allegations, and O'Reilly also filed a suit against Mackris, claiming that she was extorting him. That case ended with O'Reilly settling for $9 million.
It was also one of the five cases that Steel included in her reporting about O'Reilly's history of settling with women who claim that he had harassed them, sexually or otherwise. O'Reilly responded by denying all the allegations in Steel's article, saying in a statement that he is "vulnerable to lawsuits from individuals who want [him] to pay them to avoid negative publicity."
Despite having a name seemingly suited for a Bond movie, Steel appears to have no history of threatening people. Now, though, her reporting has effectively taken out the very person who threatened her over it. Perhaps a Bond movie wouldn't be the worst place for her after all.