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Est. April 5, 2002
May 11, 2017 - Issue 698

Muted Joy
When the Devil
Gets His Due

"For the sake of women—and for the
sake of justice—I am celebrating O’ Reilly’s
departure, but just know that getting rid of
this devil isn’t a win for women. 
It is a win for America."

At my quickly advancing age, I’ve learned three things about the Devil. He doesn’t always wear horns, so sometimes he’s hard to recognize. Second, the devil isn’t always a he (I’ll re-visit that point). Third, the devil may be personified as an individual but can be embodied in institutions (possibly as a collection of imps). April 19, 2017 was a day of joy that many of we justice, fairness and equality-loving folks didn’t get to speak about but did celebrate.

On April 19, Fox News cut the cord on Bill O’ Reilly, the network’s most celebrated television host and celebrity. Of course, true to form, he ran overtly counter to his signature motto, “No Spin,” and like the so-called President Donald Trump, began the spin. Bill O’Reilly called the claims that resulted in his departure from Fox News “unfounded” and wished the network the best in a statement immediately after the announcement of their separation.

Fox said they were dropping O’Reilly from the network after two decades following a series (that’s right, like Bill Cosby, several) of allegations about sexual harassment and the report earlier this month that Fox had paid five women over $13 million to keep quiet about allegations of inappropriate behavior from the adversarial gold machine. “The O’Reilly Factor” had been consistently documented as the highest-rated show on cable news, but lost more than 50 advertisers following pressure from activist groups, led initially by current President of Media Matters Angelo Carusone.

(Conservative-minded folks attribute the successful activism that resulted in O’Reilly’s downfall to left-wing groups with an agenda, yet they fail to see their gun rights, anti-choice and “Blue Lives Matter” supporters as activists. Are they hypocrites, willfully ignorant or just plain ignorant? Carusone’s efforts began with launching a Twitter campaign (@StopBeck) that successfully booted Glenn Beck off the airwaves.

Fox News CEO Roger Ailes resigned last summer over allegations of sexual harassment from women at the network, including former anchors Gretchen Carlson and Megyn Kelly. No wonder O’Reilly was given carte blanche leeway to behave so reprehensibly.

For the sake of women—and for the sake of justice—I am celebrating O’ Reilly’s departure, but just know that getting rid of this devil isn’t a win for women. It is a win for America. Nothing stops future top-rated talk show hosts from sexually degrading women. Fox did a grandiose job at sweeping under the rug the sexual misconduct committed by its coveted white males—for years! When women attempted to complain, resisted or spoke out, they were viciously retaliated against. It reminds me of the way each time a failure of the so-called President is exposed, he attacks the media—the messenger—for bringing the message. It’s a clumsy, obvious ploy to divert our attention from a message of importance. It’s currently working for Trump the way it, for so long, worked for Fox News.

There was a “culture” problem at Fox News that some are saying the parent company didn’t know about. It’s clear that millions of dollars in settlements were paid out. There’s no way in hell you or I can reasonably believe that missing millions of dollars wouldn’t disturb a parent! No matter how much money 20th Century Fox makes, they pay attention to what’s lost (including the reported $25 million O’Reilly walks away with after renewing his contract last month).

Let us not ignore the fact that the Fox dress code of high-heels, lots of make-up, tight dresses and the like, all steeped in the “culture” of sexism and women as sexual objects, has not been fully addressed. Bill O’Reilly’s sexual harassment has been addressed—only because of lost revenue, not because of ethics—but the network is still playing defense. The settlements were what turned out to be vain attempts to keep the harassment quiet. And if you really acutely analyze the whole episode, this settlement stuff wasn’t exposed until the three Black women complained about their harassment within the O’Reilly factory.

What’s really strange in this equation is that O’Reilly’s popularity of opposing feminism, racist innuendos and mean-spirited attacks all embraced by the climate of disrespect—deeply held character traits of the millions who called themselves “Conservatives.” Anyone who opposed these character traits were stamped pejoratively as “Liberals.” We all should have been up in arms when the Fox News network of surrogates began framing respect as a bad thing. This is the same tact used in attacking “Political Correctness.” Shaming anyone who demands respect was pejoratively labeled as “PC.”

It’s hard to feel vindicated though, knowing there are other devils within the Fox News family who are still getting a pass. I just shudder to think of all of the likely suffering victims there are at the hundreds of Fox affiliates across the country. I am also of the mind that we shouldn’t let the advertisers—supporters of O’Reilly—off the hook. O’Reilly generated over $150 million in ad revenue for Fox News in 2016—one-third of its total ad income! If advertisers weren’t aware of the O’ Reilly pay-offs before, once news of the pay-offs became public, the corporations chose a “wait-and-see” posture for more than a few days—in fact, many simply shifted dollars to other Fox programs! Those who stuck by O’Reilly eventually withdrew their ad dollars too.

What’s more depressing for me is that, O’ Reilly got dumped for the offenses against women, but not for his Black offenses. People will argue that sexual harassment is a crime and racial harassment is not. That’s true, but there ought to be! Dammit!

His “James Brown wig” attack on Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) in early April only confirmed for us genuinely Black folk that O’Reilly was a skilled and consistent racist. His rants about Blacks with tattoos on their faces and his ability excite the nostalgic “Take My Country Back” crowd, only solidified his status as a mouthpiece for the angry, American white male who believes that “white privilege” is a birthright. That belief escalated during the era of President Barack Obama, and has reached a crescendo under so-called President Trump. O’Reilly could excite his supporters to action much like Trump currently does. Yet unlike Trump, O’Reilly veiled comments made him much more palatable.

It was genius for to place ads on job recruitment sites. That is the kind of creative organizing I admire. It’s targeted against a hostile, anti-American and even demonic force. I only hope more women—in particular, Conservative women—come forward. Sadly, too many women are proud of their votes for Trump. It’s insane. And just the same, there are comparable numbers of women who are just as proud that they subscribed to Bill O’ Reilly’s brand of sexism, racism, misogyny and disrespect. Yup, insane.

Because of those supporters, our work continues. Additionally, the fight for Black respect goes on. Just recently, a Florida state senator apologized for using a racial slur and vulgar insults during a private after-hours conversation with two Black colleagues...yes, authority figures! Republican Sen. Frank Artiles gave the three-minute apology on the Senate floor as the chamber began its business for the day.

"I extend a heartfelt apology to my colleagues and to all of those I have offended," said Artiles, a Cuban-American from the Miami area. "My harsh words have adversely reflected more on me than they could ever have on anyone else." It’s obvious, since Artiles had been “Americanized,” he believes that he is white. What he fails to understand is that, to the whites of this country, he’ll never be white enough.

Artiles used a variation of the "n-word" at Tallahassee's members only Governors Club with Democratic Sens. Gibson and Perry Thurston. He also cursed at Gibson, calling her a vulgar name, and referred to Senate President Joe Negron using a vulgar term. In an odd twist to this story, just before the apology, Negron replaced Artiles as chairman of the Communications, Energy and Public Utilities Committee.

Artiles said he was particularly sorry for the words he hurled at Gibson of Jacksonville because they were personal.

Do you believe like I do that the apology came because he got caught! "I am so sorry for the words and tone I used with you," Artiles said. "There is no excuse, nor will I offer one. My comments to you are the most regretful of all because they injured you personally."

Like sexual harassment, I’d like to see civil penalties attached to such heinous acts of disrespect. And, Black folks don’t help when they publicly invoke sentiments about our inherent “forgiving nature.” This was displayed in Gibson response to being disrespected, "There is a firestorm and it's an unfortunate circumstance. It's a situation I hope never happens again…There should be no grudges and reason to talk terribly to or about anyone," she added. "I'm ready to move past it so we can do the work." Shoooooo…not me!

On the other hand, Thurston said the apology wasn't enough. "Too little, too late," said Thurston, whose district includes parts of Fort Lauderdale. "It's hard to put it back. And she (Gibson) said it herself this morning, words have consequences." We could only wish…Artiles said afterward that he doesn't plan to resign. Afterwards The Miami Herald reported that Artiles told Gibson and Perry that Negron rose to power because "six n------" in the Republican caucus elected him. The two senators told the Herald that Artiles later said he'd used the word "niggas," suggesting the slang word wasn't intended to be insulting.

And thus, for continued assaults against Blacks such as this, it’s impossible to celebrate O’Reilly’s ouster. He represents an individual devil that got his due. Now, how do we collectively bring down the millions more individuals—and more salient, their institutions? The struggle continues. Columnist, Perry Redd, longtime activist & organizer, is the Executive Director of the workers rights advocacy, Sincere
that currently owns the FCC license for WOOK-LP 103.1FM/ His latest book,
Perry NoName: A Journal From A Federal Prison-book 1, chronicles his ‘behind bars’ activism that extricated him from a 42-year sentence and is now case law. He is also the author of As A Condition of Your Freedom: A Guide to Self-Redemption From Societal Oppression, Mr. Redd also hosts a radio show, Socially Speaking, from his Washington, DC studio. Tweet him @socialspeaks. Contact Mr. Redd and BC.




is published every Thursday
Executive Editor:
David A. Love, JD
Managing Editor:
Nancy Littlefield, MBA
Peter Gamble

Perry NoName: A Journal From A Federal Prison-book 1
As A Condition of Your Freedom: A Guide to Self-Redemption From Societal Oppression
Ferguson is America: Roots of Rebellion by Jamala Rogers