Bill O'Reilly Booted by FOX Thanks To Public Pressure --Shine Next?

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O'Reilly -- no more love from FOX. Photo: FOX screenshot

[Commentary]

It's official: Fox News just fired Bill O'Reilly – and it's because of participation and pressure from people like you.

Fox News executives didn't act of their own volition. They were forced to act. They had years to address serial sexual harassment at their network. They didn't; they actually enabled it. So individuals and groups took action to educate advertisers after a report from The New York Times shed new light on the depths of O'Reilly's conduct.

Advertisers fled because they immediately recognized what Fox News has ignored for over a decade: Serial sexual harassment isn't only wrong, it's bad for business. In just two weeks, more than 80 advertisers – from Allstate to Jenny Craig to Xfinity – issued public statements that they will no longer sponsor The O'Reilly Factor.

O'Reilly's ad losses had already been estimated at $37 to $42 million for this year alone. And without advertisers, O'Reilly's show was no longer commercially viable. Fox News had no choice but to fire him. Accountability came from the outside, not from within. Fox News executives don't deserve accolades for finally acting – only scorn for the industrial-scale harassment they've forced their employees to endure.

But Fox's sexual harassment problems extend well beyond Bill O'Reilly. Don't forget – less than a year ago, Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes was pushed out after more than two dozen women said that he sexually harassed them. And reports of gender discrimination and sexism go all the way up to Fox's top brass, including co-president Bill Shine.

Shine reportedly retaliated against women who came forward with reports against Ailes and O'Reilly. And he put shareholders and advertisers at risk by re-signing O'Reilly's contract just a few weeks ago despite knowing about these allegations.

Firing Bill O'Reilly was a first step that the network needed to be forced to take. But if Fox News executives want to signal that they’re serious about addressing sexual harassment, they'll fire Bill Shine too. If not, then staff, advertisers, and shareholders should beware – because we'll be here, continuing to hold them accountable.

Your participation matters.

 

Angelo Carusone

@GoAngelo

President

Media Matters for America 

 

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