Bill O’Reilly has been forced out of Fox News after widespread national condemnation over sexual harassment allegations led to more than 70 companies pulling their advertisements from The O’Reilly Factor.
O’Reilly was sent away with a $25 million payout, significantly more than was ever paid to any of the five women who received settlements after being harassed and abused by O’Reilly. Those five settlements totaled a mere $13 million combined.
While the public only knows of six women who received settlements, there are many others who allege being sexually harassed by O’Reilly who never sought out legal reconciliation.
Former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes was ousted 9 months ago with a $40 million severance package after former news anchor Gretchen Carlson found a way around Fox’s secret arbitration clause, publicly exposing Ailes as an accused serial sexual harasser and abuser. Many of Fox’s contracts contain fine print that forfeit an employee’s right to have a legal dispute with the company settled in court, instead forcing them into private proceedings that typically result in significantly lower payouts and keep sexual harassment allegations secret.
While 21st Century Fox claims that O’Reilly’s ousting is evidence of the corporate cultural shift they’ve promised following the ousting of Ailes, many inside the company are skeptical, pointing to the continued employment of Ailes’ top lieutenants, Bill Shine and Jack Abernethy, as signs that 21st Century Fox’s claims are disingenuous.
Despite having to settle at least six cases of sexual harassment, O’Reilly’s contract had been renewed earlier this year for an additional four years. Between 2014 and 2016, The O’Reilly Factor generated more than $446 million in advertising revenue.
A leading figurehead of the right-wing movement, O’Reilly’s career was one filled with racist, misogynistic and violent rhetoric. Over a four year period, O’Reilly notoriously dedicated 29 episodes of his show to vilifying abortion provider Dr. George Tiller. O’Reilly called him “Tiller the Baby Killer” and accused him of “operating a death mill.” He once said, “And if I could get my hands on Tiller—well, you know. Can’t be vigilantes. Can’t do that. It’s just a figure of speech. But despicable? Oh, my God. Oh, it doesn’t get worse. Does it get worse? No.”
Tiller was shot to death in his church in 2009 by an anti-abortion extremist.
Bill O’Reilly exhibited violent tendencies and abuse of women in his personal life as well, with documented reports of violence towards his wife, witnessed by their children. His teenage daughter reported that she once saw her father dragging her mother down the stairs by her neck. O’Reilly told his daughter that her mother was an “adulterer.”
O’Reilly has denied all accusations made by the women he has worked with, his ex-wife and his daughter.
Media Resources: New York Times 4/20/17; Feminist Majority Foundation 4/11/17; Alternet 4/19/17; Rolling Stones 4/20/17; Gawker 5/20/15.