Lessons from Fox and Bill O’Reilly


(TriceEdneyWire.com)—Former Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly, the man whose lofty ratings were 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.  But it is unlikely that protests or complaints moved Fox to separate themselves from O’Reilly.  Instead, it is most likely that the network severed connection with O’Reilly because advertisers did not want to be associated with a program anchored by a man who seemed to find nothing wrong with sexual harassment.
As 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 p.m. weekday hour, drawing more viewers than any other cable network.
Don’t 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 didn’t 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 didn’t she leave?  She valued her job.  She didn’t know if she could find another one. An African American woman who heads a household and had, on average, just $4400 in liquid assets, (compared to $20,519 for White women).  With such a tiny cushion, an African American is likely to think twice before airing a sexual harassment complaint.


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