Bill O'Reilly: The real problem
Bill O'Reilly: The real problem

Bill O’Reil­ly, host of the high­est rat­ed pro­gram at the Fox Noise Chan­nel, has been forced out of the net­work after exec­u­tives at its par­ent com­pa­ny 21st Cen­tu­ry Fox con­clud­ed that his show could no longer be effec­tive­ly mon­e­tized due to a mass exo­dus of adver­tis­ers cat­alyzed by deter­mined activists.

Mul­ti­ple women who for­mer­ly worked with O’Reil­ly at Fox have come for­ward over the years — with sev­er­al speak­ing out just recent­ly — to say that they were sex­u­al­ly harassed by him. Respond­ing to the alle­ga­tions, activists reached out to O’Reil­ly’s adver­tis­ers to urge them to walk away from his show, and many have.

That prompt­ed exec­u­tives at 21st Cen­tu­ry Fox, includ­ing Rupert Mur­doch’s sons, to reex­am­ine O’Reil­ly’s future at Fox Noise Channel.

Today, they announced their verdict.

“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,” the com­pa­ny announced in a terse state­ment released a short time ago.

“Fox News was forced to act,” said Media Mat­ters Pres­i­dent Ange­lo Caru­sone.

“They had years to address ser­i­al sex­u­al harass­ment at Fox News. They didn’t; they actu­al­ly enabled it. So, indi­vid­u­als and groups took action to edu­cate adver­tis­ers. Adver­tis­ers fled because they imme­di­ate­ly rec­og­nized what Fox News has ignored for over a decade: that ser­i­al sex­u­al harass­ment is not only wrong, but bad for busi­ness. With­out adver­tis­ers, Bill O’Reilly’s show was no longer com­mer­cial­ly viable.”

“Fox News had no choice but to fire O’Reilly. Account­abil­i­ty came from the out­side, not from with­in. Fox News deserves no acco­lades, only scorn for the indus­tri­al scale of harass­ment they have forced their employ­ees to endure.”

Caru­sone also called for the ouster of the net­work’s co-pres­i­dent Bill Shine, an enabler of the net­work’s tox­ic work­place environment.

O’Reil­ly is cur­rent­ly on vaca­tion in Italy; fol­low­ing the begin­ning of his planned hia­tus from his show, The New York Times ratch­eted up the pres­sure on his boss­es by report­ing new alle­ga­tions against him.

The lat­est alle­ga­tion against Mr. O’Reilly came on Tues­day when a woman who pre­vi­ous­ly worked at Fox News called a 21st Cen­tu­ry Fox hot­line to report alle­ga­tions of sex­u­al and racial harass­ment against him, accord­ing to her lawyer, Lisa Bloom.

The woman, who is not seek­ing mon­ey, want­ed to stay anony­mous to avoid the news media spot­light but thought that it was impor­tant to report her alle­ga­tions to the com­pa­ny, Ms. Bloom said.

Ms. Bloom said the woman, who is African-Amer­i­can, worked in a cler­i­cal posi­tion at the net­work but did not work direct­ly for Mr. O’Reilly. The woman report­ed that in 2008, Mr. O’Reilly would stop by her desk and grunt like a “wild boar”; he would also stand back to allow her to exit the ele­va­tor first and then say, “Look­ing good, girl,” Ms. Bloom said. Mr. O’Reilly leered at the woman’s cleav­age and legs and called her “hot choco­late,” Ms. Bloom said.

O’Reil­ly has been the face of the Fox Noise Chan­nel for a very long time, and Fox has kept him around even after learn­ing that O’Reil­ly was a sex­u­al predator.

Watch the doc­u­men­tary Out­foxed from Brave New Films to see some of Bil­l’s most infa­mous moments from the ear­ly years of his show.

The net­work has repeat­ed­ly shelled out large sums of mon­ey to buy the silence of O’Reil­ly’s accusers. But that prac­tice became unten­able after O’Reil­ly’s adver­tis­ers van­ished. The big­mouth’s view­er­ship has nev­er been bet­ter, but a show with­out adver­tis­ers is not worth much to a for-prof­it media conglomerate.

The ouster of Bill O’Reil­ly is a water­shed moment in the his­to­ry of the strug­gle to hold the Repub­li­can Noise Machine account­able for its degra­da­tion of our pub­lic dis­course. O’Reil­ly was a promi­nent cog in that machine. And it should be not­ed that he did­n’t just use his perch at the net­work to spew right wing pro­pa­gan­da. He also used it to become filthy rich. He branched out from his Fox prime­time show to cre­ate an entire fran­chise, prin­ci­pal­ly dri­ven by lucra­tive book deals.

This arrange­ment no doubt would have con­tin­ued if O’Reil­ly’s show had con­tin­ued to enjoy the patron­age of com­pa­nies like…

ADT, Advil, Ainsworth Pet Nutri­tion, Aller­gan, All­state, Ami­ca Insur­ance,, Ang­ie’s List, AstraZenecaBam­boo HR, Bausch + Lomb, Bay­er, Been­Ver­i­fied, Bet­ter Busi­ness Bureau of Chica­goBMW of North Amer­i­ca, Cap­i­tal OneCARFAX, Cold­well Banker, Con­stant Con­tact, Con­sumer Cel­lu­lar, Cred­it Kar­ma, Crowne Plaza Hotels, E*TRADEEli Lil­ly, Esurance, Flex Seal, Fresh­pet, Geico, Glax­o­SmithK­line, GoodRx, H&R Block, Home Advi­sor, Hulu, Hyundai, Infini­ti, InnoGamesIt’s Just Lunch, Jen­ny Craig, Land Rover, Laser Spine InstitueLegal­Zoom, Lend­ingTree, Lexus, Lib­er­ty Mutu­al, Lum­ber Liq­uida­torsMahin­dra, Mat­tress Firm, Mer­cedes-Benz, MileIQ, Mir­a­cle Ear, Mit­subishi, Moberg Phar­ma, Mon­san­to, Next Day Blinds, Old Domin­ion Freight Line, Orkin, Pacif­ic Life, Pelo­ton, Per­il­lo Tours, Pfiz­er, Pro­gres­sive, The Propane Coun­cil, Red­di Wip,, Sanofi, Scot­tevest, Soci­ety for Human Resource Man­age­ment, South­ern New Hamp­shire Uni­ver­si­ty, Stan­ley Steemer, Sub­aru, Sunsweet Grow­ersT. Rowe Price, Touch­note, Triva­go, True­Car, UNTUCK­it, Ver­i­zonVision­Works, Voya Finan­cial, Way­Fair, Weath­erTechThe Won­der­ful Com­pa­ny, and Xfin­i­ty

… all of whom pulled their adver­tis­ing from “The Fac­tor” in recent weeks.

(Hat tip to Media Mat­ters for the compilation).

At long last, O’Reil­ly has been removed from his prime­time Fox perch. His show is over. The O’Reil­ly Fac­tor will con­tin­ue with guest host Dana Peri­no until Fri­day, then it will be replaced by a pro­gram host­ed by Tuck­er Carlson.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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