The termination of Bill O’Reilly may, on its surface, look like a victory in the war on inequality in the media, but it’s just another example of how the news media values their advertisers opinion above all else.
On Wednesday, O’Reilly was forced out of his position as cable news’ top-rated host after allegations of sexual assault were disclosed as the result of an internal investigation. This is not the first time the controversial host has come under fire for similar allegations. However, this is the first time that Fox News and its parent company, 21st Century Fox have supported O’Reilly.
After pressure from their advertisers to withdraw their financial support, FOX was left with no other choice but to let O’Reilly go (with a cushy exit package, might I add).
Of course I agree with the decision to let O’Reilly go, but it is unfortunate that it was only after the intense pressure from advertisers. FOX has no qualms objectifying women, as you could gather from the appearance of their female anchors with their blown out hair and plunging necklines.
The move to oust O’Reilly came after an article by The New York Times described how Fox stood by the host even after five women had come forward with complaints of sexual harassment by the popular news host. The women were paid a sum of almost $13 million for their pain and suffering.
After the allegations became public, advertisers started dropping like flies. Public opinion of O’Reilly fell drastically as more women came forward with similar complaints about the host’s inappropriate behavior.
This all comes after another member of the Fox network was accused of sexual harassment. Roger E. Ailes was the chairman of Fox News before he was also let go in June of this year. After Ailes left, the network made promises to the female members of the staff to foster an environment of “trust and respect” in the network.
The recent allegations again O’Reilly make me question what steps were actually taken to clean up the culture of misogyny and sexism that thrives at Fox.
Sure, 50 advertisers dropped out and women’s rights groups called for his termination, but where was the forethought and insight by Fox into their own company to make the move to fire O’Reilly for being the sexist pig that we all know him to be?
When will the media start trusting women when they come out with allegations of sexual harassment, instead of waiting for the cue from their advertisers to do the decent thing and stand up for women’s rights in the workplace?
The Daily Show recently put together a satirical video of a “Leaked: Fox News 8 p.m. Anchor Audition Tape,” in which it compiles clips of male staff members making horrendously sexist comments toward their female coworkers.
The comments in the video show men embracing and reinforcing this culture of sexism. The male anchors feel so embolden to make such blatant sexist comments on the air, I can only imagine what kind of despicable behavior occurs behind closed doors.
Here’s hoping that Tucker Carlson will learn from his predecessor, but judging by his advice to a female journalist to “stick to the thigh high boots,” I am highly doubtful.