Finally, it seems that Fox News is fed up with deflecting sexual harassment claims. Last year the CEO, Roger Ailes stepped down after several women came forward alleging sexual harassment. Now Bill O’Reilly, the most popular and influential commentator at Fox News for nearly two decades has been fired due to multiple sexual harassment claims and the fallout since.
Though Bill O’Reilly may be best known for his controversial show, The O’Reilly Factor, where he takes a conservative (and often combative) stance, like Ailes, he also has a long history of sexual harassment allegations. According to The Times, he has settled five separate cases with women, totaling $13 million. All five of the settlements have been made with women who have come forth with legitimate sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior claims.
Fox News and 21st Century Fox have stood faithfully by him over the years, but after a recent 2-week investigation, they decided enough was enough (O’Reilly’s show brings in between 3 to 4 million viewers each night.) Fox stated: “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.”
Was the evidence more damning this time around, was the public pressure too high or was Fox simply tired of shelling out money to defend the prominent figure? When the most recent allegations against O’Reilly became public, advertisers began pulling their commercials from his programming, so as not to be associated with his declining reputation. Regardless of what propelled the Murdochs and other leaders of Fox News parent company to push O’Reilly out, let’s hope this sends a clear message to other companies both big and small; sexual harassment claims are serious and should no longer be pushed under the rug, regardless of how important or profitable the figure may be to your brand.
What do you think of O’Reilly finally being fired?