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Bill O'Reilly threatens New York Times reporter covering his "war zone" claims

Slaven Vlasic/Getty

Fox News host Bill O'Reilly, several days into the controversy over accusations that he embellished stories of his experiences covering the Falklands War, threatened a New York Times reporter investigating the story.

O'Reilly stated that he would retaliate against the journalist, Times media reporter Emily Steel, if he did not approve of how she covered the story.

"I am coming after you with everything I have," O'Reilly told her. "You can take it as a threat."

While the Times does not print the full exchange, its report describes O'Reilly as threatening "repercussions if he felt any of the reporter's coverage was inappropriate."

New York Times reporter Ravi Somaiya, who co-authored the story with Steel, tweeted that O'Reilly had "threatened to come after @emilysteel if he did not approve of [the] story."

O'Reilly has a reputation for lashing out at critics, often going to great lengths to retaliate. In 2009, ThinkProgress writer Amanda Terkel reported that O'Reilly had been uninvited from an event for rape survivors, and criticized his past statements implying rape victims shared some blame for their attacks. In response, O'Reilly sent a producer and cameraman to follow Terkel on her vacation, ambushing and cornering her with demands that she apologize. The producer, Jesse Watters, had similarly ambushed other people who had criticized O'Reilly, broadcasting their shocked and at times frightened responses.

The nature of O'Reilly's threat to Steel is unclear and may well have been empty. But it would certainly not be the first time that the Fox News host used his considerable platform to punish someone for a perceived slight.