Bill O’Reilly has been removed from his position as host of Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor in the wake of widespread sexual harassment allegations against him—and a powerful outcry from activists who insisted the network show that they take such claims seriously in calling for his dismissal.
— ColorOfChange.org (@ColorOfChange) April 18, 2017
The New York Times recently reported that 21st Century Fox paid $13 million to women over 15 years who accused O’Reilly of sexual harassment, although O’Reilly has denied all of the allegations. Women described verbal abuse, lewd comments and unwanted phone calls in which it sounded like he was masturbating in their complaints. Just this week, a woman came forward stating that O’Reilly would “leer” at her and call her “hot chocolate” because she is African American.
“After a thorough and careful review of the allegations,” 21st Century Fox, the parent company of Fox News, said in a statement, “the company and Bill O’Reilly have agreed that Bill O’Reilly will not be returning to the Fox News Channel.”
The New York Times’ report triggered a call by activists for O’Reilly’s removal, as well as a broader demand that Fox News take sexual harassment cases more seriously. Two weeks ago, Color of Change called on O’Reilly Factor advertisers to remove their support for the program; over 50 agreed. And just yesterday, the women’s rights organization Ultraviolet organized small groups gathered to protest outside of Fox News headquarters and call for O’Reilly’s dismissal. The organization commissioned a plane to fly over the city with a banner that read “Fox news: #Drop O’Reilly, The Sexual Predator.”
Although O’Reilly’s dismissal marks a victory, the fight to end sexual harassment at Fox has just begun. In the past two years alone, over 25 women at Fox News have come forward with sexual harassment allegations against high-ranking men at the network, leading to the resignation of its chairman last year.
“Bill O’Reilly is a serial sexual predator, a bigot, and a misogynist. He will not be missed, and because 21st Century Fox fired Bill O’Reilly, the female employees at Fox News will be slightly safer. But Fox News’ problem with sexual harassment and assault is way bigger than just Bill O’Reilly,” Shaunna Thomas, co-founder of UltraViolet, said in a statement.”With reports that dozens of additional women at the network have not yet come forward with allegations of sexual harassment, the next scandal for the network may just be months away.”
Alexa Antonelli is a senior at Biola University graduating this spring with a degree in English Literature. When she isn’t reading or writing about feminist issues, she’s usually in her car listening to podcasts and trying to stay chill while turning left on the streets of Los Angeles.
Carmen Rios is the Digital Editor at Ms., Managing Editor of Argot Magazine and a Contributing Writer at Everyday Feminism. She’s also the co-host of THE BOSSY SHOW. Previously, she was the Community Director and Feminism Editor for Autostraddle, a Contributor at Mic, Blog Editor at WIYL and a SPARK blogger; her work has also appeared at BuzzFeed, MEL, BITCH and Feministing. She stays very zen in L.A. traffic. You can find her on Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr.