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.
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, AncestryDNA.com, Angie’s List, AstraZeneca, Bamboo HR, Bausch + Lomb, Bayer, BeenVerified, Better Business Bureau of Chicago, BMW of North America, Capital One, CARFAX, Coldwell Banker, Constant Contact, Consumer Cellular, Credit Karma, Crowne Plaza Hotels, E*TRADE, Eli Lilly, Esurance, Flex Seal, Freshpet, Geico, GlaxoSmithKline, GoodRx, H&R Block, Home Advisor, Hulu, Hyundai, Infiniti, InnoGames, It’s Just Lunch, Jenny Craig, Land Rover, Laser Spine Institue, LegalZoom, LendingTree, Lexus, Liberty Mutual, Lumber Liquidators, Mahindra, 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, Ring.com, Sanofi, Scottevest, Society for Human Resource Management, Southern New Hampshire University, Stanley Steemer, Subaru, Sunsweet Growers, T. Rowe Price, Touchnote, Trivago, TrueCar, UNTUCKit, Verizon, VisionWorks, Voya Financial, WayFair, WeatherTech, The 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.