After years of accusations and payoffs, Bill O’Reilly was finally fired from Fox News (the cable news channel that made its name from blondes in mini skirts) after numerous accusations of sexual harassment. For the most part, word around the network was crikets, but they did issue a Special Report that admitted to the firing, but somehow, they still managed to kiss the former anchor’s ass.
In a 2 minute and 20 second segment, hosts Howard Kurtz and Brett Baird addressed the harassment allegations, barely, and only after calling O’Reilly “the biggest star in the 20 year history of Fox News.”
Earlier in the day, Kurtz penned an op-ed talking about the firing while praising O’Reilly for his stardom, even after the allegations surfaced.
The “O’Reilly Factor” has spawned a cottage industry, with the host, who was part of the channel’s original lineup in 1996, producing a slew of best-selling books and finding himself in demand for lucrative speaking engagements. It has been a cash cow for Fox News Channel, generating about $178 million in ad revenue in 2015, according to an estimate by Kantar Media. And his ratings remained stratospheric by cable standards, averaging just under 4 million viewers in the first quarter of this year and rising even after the allegations published by the Times.
Source: Fox News
In both the op-ed and in the cable news segment, there was no mention of what the work environment must have been like for the women at Fox, although there was one somewhat blamey sounding line about “female employees” being “uncomfortable” with O’Reilly being there. Gee, I wonder why they felt uncomfortable.
Here’s the video:
The allegations against O’Reilly would be unbelievable in a corporate mandated HR sexual harassment film. He seemed to feel that no woman was off limits for the blustery host. He allegedy choked his ex-wife. He allegedly promised lucrative contracts, but with a
small catch. Then, there was the woman he wanted to rape with a falafel.
Don’t be fooled into thinking Fox News fired O’Reilly out of respect for women or because it was the right thing to do. At Fox, money speaks and O’Reilly made so much for Fox that they were able to shrug away $13 million in sexual harassment payouts because of O’Reilly. It was only after his show began losing sponsors right and left that the cable network said enough was enough, and if Baird’s and Kurtz’s version of the story is anything close to official, it’s clear that they still don’t care about the alleged victims. They do care, though, about O’Reilly’s starpower. I give him a year before he’s back. After all, we live in Trump’s world now.
Featured image via Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images.