I continuously find it mystifying when people act so shocked by information which has already been widely circulated for years. For years – if not decades – we’ve known that Bill O’Reilly was a misogynistic and racist piece of trash. There was plenty of on-camera evidence, just as there were plenty of stories about how he behaved when he was off-camera too. Advertisers still stuck with him. Fox News still stuck with him, even when they were paying out millions of dollars to protect him from sexual harassment lawsuits. Those payouts became the story a few weeks ago, when the NYT published a lengthy report on O’Reilly’s victims and his history of harassment and unprofessional behavior. Advertisers have been fleeing ever since, and last week, O’Reilly abruptly announced that he was “going on vacation.”
There were many rumors that the younger Murdochs (James and Lachlan) were trying to convince their dad Rupert Murdoch to cut ties with O’Reilly completely and just fire him. New York Magazine reported yesterday that James and Lachlan’s efforts have gathered steam, especially given the exodus of advertisers. NY Mag also said that the Murdochs are concerned about their takeover bid of Sky and firing O’Reilly would apparently go a long way to prove that Murdochs aren’t running an empire based on protecting lecherous old white dudes. The Wall Street Journal basically confirms that the Murdochs are leaning into the idea that O’Reilly must go and that Fox News is “preparing to cut ties” with O’Reilly. The Wall Street Journal is owned by the Murdochs, so they would know.
Also: There’s yet another story about O’Reilly being a gigantic creep. In 2008, Fox News employed an African-American woman to do clerical work around the office. Her desk happened to be near O’Reilly’s office, and this is how he behaved: “He would never talk to her, not even hello, except to grunt at her like a wild boar. He would leer at her. He would always do this when no one else was around and she was scared.” He also called her “hot chocolate” at some point. Her lawyer says that she did report the harassment to the hotline too.
Update: YAY, O’Reilly was officially sh-tcanned!
Photos courtesy of Getty.