After his two-decade long relationship with Fox, well known conservative T.V. host Bill O’ Reilly, along with his network show “The O’Reilly Factor,” were terminated from the air. It took five allegations of sexual harassment against O’Reilly before an investigation released by The New York Times found the network paid $13 million to cover up allegations of sexual harassment. A loss of advertising and protesting of the cable show pushed Fox to break off the 20 yearlong relationship.
“No person with various sexual harassment allegations should deserve a segment in one of the most popular news channels,” senior Eric Hernandez said. “On the other hand, I watched ‘The O’Reilly Factor’ for multiple years, was a fan, considering he brought upon a new perspective of politics in my life.”
While “The O’Reilly Factor” was rated the number one cable news outlet with the most generated viewership and revenue according to the The Atlantic, it seems as saving the integrity of the cable show and its frontrunner was more important to the right-wing based network. Rather than, at least, halting production of the show when these severe claims were made by female employees.
In O’Reilly’s personal statement, released on Wednesday, April 19, he described his sudden departure to be “tremendously disheartening that we part ways due to completely unfounded claims. But that is the unfortunate reality many of us in the public eye must live with today.”
While Fox and O’Reilly are rejecting the claims themselves, the network is reporting the loss of its number one syndicated talk show as the end of a legacy, Rather than taking the blame for its mistakes on how it handled the sexual harassment claims.
It’s another setback for women and an added tally mark for instances of how sexual assault allegations are brushed off by the media.
“I’m not really shocked about his show being cancelled, I think coming out of a Trump win we knew that a lot of staunchly conservative media outlets might struggle to stay afloat with increased pressure from the public,” senior Mary Donohue said. “There have been a lot of sexual harassment allegations directed towards Fox this year, and I don’t think it’s surprising that they’ve been covered up and everything is coming out at this point. I’m glad that these issues of rampant sexism are finally being addressed, but it’s unfortunate that it took a Trump presidency for it to happen.”
In July of 2016, Fox had a similar incident when Roger Ailes was also accused of sexual harassment against female employees and former Fox anchor Gretchen Carlson.
Carlson left Fox with a $20 million settlement and Ailes walked away with a severance package of $40 million. Bill O’Reilly received no different treatment from Fox since he will allegedly receive an exit package of $25 million, the equivalent to a one year salary.
“It’s a shame that even after all the progress women have been striving for equality gets overshadowed by the sum rewarded to the man who has consistently disrespected them,” senior Hajrije Kolimja, said.
The treatment of alleged abusers is not equal to the acts they are being accused of. Being considered notable figures in the public eye should not exclude them from fair treatment. It does not do their victims justice and it is a setback for survivors of sexual assault who are trying to find justice.