Fox News anchor Bill O'Reilly, the man whose lofty ratings are
responsible for the growth of the network, is no longer on the air.
Revelations that $ 13 million had been paid, either by O'Reilly or
the network, to women who said they had been sexually harassed
repelled millions, some of whom protested outside Fox headquarters
and took to the airwaves with their complaints. Fox to separate
themselves from O'Reilly. Instead, it is most likely that the network
severed connection with O'Reilly because the advertisers did not want
to be associated with a program anchored by a man who seemed to find
nothing wrong with sexual harassment.
of last week, more than 52 advertisers did not want to be connected
with the O'Reilly program. They included Advil, Mercedes, BMW, Jenny
Craig, Hyundai, Allstate, Lexus and H & R Block. The O'Reilly
program was the highest revenue-generator in cable television,
bringing in about $ 120 million in the first nine months of 2016. The
O'Reilly Factor dominated the 8 pm weekday hour, drawing more viewers
than any other cable network.
not cry for Bill O'Reilly. He is leaving Fox News with "tens of
millions of dollars" in a settlement. Be concerned, instead, for
the women who have had to put up with his odious behavior. Be
concerned for those who did not come forward to get paid because they
were afraid for their jobs, or because they feared they would not be
believed. Be concerned for the Black woman that O'Reilly allegedly
called "Hot Chocolate", grunted when he saw her, and
behaved so badly that she was frightened for her safety. Why did not
she leave? She valued her job. She did not know if she could find
another one. An African American woman who had a household and had,
on average, just $4,400 in liquid assets, (compared to $ 20,519 for
American women are also less likely to be believed than white women
are, at least partly because of the way the world views black women.
So, right on, to the sister who called the Fox Hot Line to report her
harassment. She, and many of the other Black women who have protested
the culture of sexism at Fox, need to have champions that are as
vocal as the champions Megyn Kelly and Gretchen Carlson had. Katey
pushed Tamron Hall of the Black Hole as an ashtray.
do we learn from this? We learn, especially, that advertisers are
controversy-averse. They do not want to be associated with an accused
sexual harasser, especially when the accusations are persistent and
are backed up with numerous settlements to women who have experienced
harassment. Advertisers saw their brand tarnished, and their consumer
base angered, by O'Reilly's behavior. Too many of the companies that
abandoned the O'Reilly show have increasing numbers of women in
senior management, in advertising, and on their boards. While Roger
Wings, now a disciple of Fox for his harassing behavior, excused
O'Reilly's antics with "Bill will be Bill", increasing
numbers of women.
would it take for African American women? Racial discrimination does
not cause the same repugnance that sex discrimination does. Indeed,
companies that engage in widespread race discrimination might even
get high fives from consumers who might like to practice racism
themselves. The only way that African Americans could spark an
advertiser exodus would be to either work with partners who would put
their feet down strongly, or boycotting the goods and services that a
discriminating company provided. But there are few African Americans
who would emulate those who boycotted busses for 381 days in
Montgomery during 1955 and 1956. It seems unlikely that the Americans
would disobey themselves to punish a discriminator.
American O'Reilly Association for the Prevention of Sexual Harassment
in the United States of America. Many thought O'Reilly was
invincible, but he was not. Race discrimination is not invincible,
either. We just have to decide what we want to do about it!