After Fox News chair Roger Ailes was fired from the network over sexual harassment charges against him, multiple network employees came forward to describe a pattern of harassment at the company. Those claims have been further vindicated.
An investigation by The New York Times has found a total of five women who have received payouts from either Mr. O’Reilly or the company in exchange for agreeing to not pursue litigation or speak about their accusations against him. The agreements totaled about $13 million!
Two of those settlements came after the Roger Ailes firing; by far the most famous settlement was (feel free to look up “Bill O’Reilly” and “falafel” on ye olde internet for more details than you’d like to know) in 2004.
A pattern of sexual assault claims against a network top dog would, for any company that took such things seriously, result in serious questions over whether the repeat offender can plausibly remain in his position. But Fox News is not a company known for taking such things seriously, and Bill O’Reilly is a cash cow for the network. And so, apparently, his job remains secure even as he and his company pay out the claims against him.
And the claims are grotesque.
Ms. Walsh, the former guest on Mr. O’Reilly’s show, said his offer to make her a contributor never materialized after she declined an invitation to go to his hotel suite after a dinner in 2013. “I feel bad that some of these old guys are using mating strategies that were acceptable in the 1950s and are not acceptable now,” she said. “I hope young men can learn from this.”
O’Reilly is, as usual, blustering over his innocence (as he has repeatedly, even after some of the women provided recorded tapes of him doing the things he professed to be fictions against him.) The man is, to use the anthropological term for such things, a sack of crap; his treatment of one of the earliest women to accuse him of sexual harassment–a woman who had taped his drunken “advances”–should have summarily ended his career, had he worked for any other network but FOX:
A public relations firm was hired to help shape the narrative in Mr. O’Reilly’s favor, and the private investigator Bo Dietl was retained to dig up information on Ms. Mackris. The goal was to depict her as a promiscuous woman, deeply in debt, who was trying to shake down Mr. O’Reilly, according to people brief on the strategy. Several unflattering stories about her appeared in the tabloids.
The Times has a summary of each of the claims, and is worth reading as evidence of just what sorts of behavior Fox News has, both before and after Roger Ailes’ own departure, defended and tolerated from their top “talents” for the sake of keeping the network grift machine running. No, most other public figures don’t spend their days repeatedly settling sexual harassment charges against them; such patterns only exist in companies that have chosen to tolerate the behavior. Which Roger Ailes did, and which continues to happen ever [sic] after his departure.
[This article first appeared in Daily Koz, Sunday, April 2, 2017, and is used here with permission.]