I’m not going to make excuses for Bill O’Reilly’s behavior.
I mean, seems to me the guy was pretty loutish at times around the Fox News Channel newsroom.
Several female co-workers claim he acted nasty around them.
Stuff like this, compiled from multiple online sources:
In 2002, O’Reilly “stormed into the Fox newsroom and screamed at a young producer,” Rachel Witlieb Bernstein, who, not long after, “left the network with a payout.”
In 2004, O’Reilly was sued for sexual harassment by 33-year-old Andrea Mackris. The Smoking Gun published her complaint. Mackris also reportedly recorded O’Reilly trying to entice her into having phone sex.
The Daily Beast reported court documents show he “may have engaged in domestic violence” during a custody battle with former wife Maureen McPhilmy that started in 2010. Years later, their daughter told the court that she saw O’Reilly “choking her mom.”
In 2011, according to the New York Times, Rebecca Gomez Diamond brought out conversations with O’Reilly she had recorded at a time when her contract was not being renewed. Diamond left the network with an unknown payout and was bound by a confidentiality agreement, according to the Times.
In 2015, Fox News anchor Laurie Dhue claimed harassment, and the case was settled for more than $1 million.
At about the same time, according to the NYT, Fox reached a $1.6 million settlement with Juliet Huddy, a regular guest on “The O’Reilly Factor.” Huddy’s lawyers alleged that O’Reilly pursued a sexual relationship with her in 2011.
Then Fox host Andrea Tantaros filed suit in 2016 claiming O’Reilly made sexually suggestive comments to her.
This year, a Los Angeles radio personality, Wendy Walsh, went public with a claim that O’Reilly invited her to go to his hotel suite in 2013.
And just last week, Perquita Burgess alleged O’Reilly leered and grunted at her, and then called her “hot chocolate.”
She reportedly called the 21st Century Fox hotline to report her claims. She also appeared on a television talk show with her lawyer, Lisa Bloom.
Also last week, former Fox News staffers Margaret Hoover, Alisyn Camerota and Kirsten Powers made accusations against O’Reilly as his vaunted place at Fox was collapsing.
According to The Daily Beast, Powers said she complained about O’Reilly’s behavior and was told to simply accept Bill as a relic of the old-school workplace.
The NYT reported that Fox paid out $13 million to these folks to keep them quiet.
Fox fired O’Reilly as dozens of advertizers pulled spots from his show.
On April 19, O’Reilly made the following statement:
Over the past 20 years at Fox News, I have been extremely proud to launch and lead one of the most successful news programs in history, which has consistently informed and entertained millions of Americans and significantly contributed to building Fox into the dominant news network in television. It is tremendously disheartening that we part ways due to completely unfounded claims. But that is the unfortunate reality many of us in the public eye must live with today. I will always look back on my time at Fox with great pride in the unprecedented success we achieved and with my deepest gratitude to all my dedicated viewers. I wish only the best for Fox News Channel.
Then on Monday, he said this during a podcast on billoreilly.com:
“I am sad that I’m not on television anymore. I was very surprised how it all turned out. I can’t say a lot, because there’s much stuff going on right now.
“But I can tell you that I’m very confident the truth will come out, and when it does, I don’t know if you’re going to be surprised – but I think you’re going to be shaken, as I am. There’s a lot of stuff involved here.
“Now, I can’t say anymore because I just don’t want to influence the flow of the information. I don’t want the media to take what I say and misconstrue it. However you, as a loyal O’Reilly listener, have a right to know, I think, down the lane what exactly happened. And we are working in that direction, OK?”
It will be interesting to see what “truth” O’Reilly is talking about. I saw a story a couple of weeks back in Variety, shortly after the whole thing blew up. It was quite in-depth, some 2,500 words. Toward the end, the writer noted that some of the relationships reportedly started out as consensual.
This, of course, doesn’t excuse being a boor toward women, but it does explain why nobody ever went to Fox’s HR department to complain about O’Reilly’s behavior. They just went to the execs to get a check.
I figure O’Reilly probably got what was coming to him, but I do find it rather curious how our culture sorts things like these out.
I mean we have a widely accepted part of culture in this country that completely objectifies and degrades women.
Not only is it accepted, it’s lauded as an art form. It’s held up as an example of success, accomplishment, talent and expressiveness.
I’m refering to hip hop culture and rap music, which embraces some of the most vile language and concepts you can imagine.
I am not suggesting that this type of “entertainment” be censored. We have freedom of expression here in America. If you want to buy that stuff and listen to it, go right ahead.
It just seems odd to me that so many people in positions of power and influence seem to embrace such vulgarity.
On the one hand, a guy like O’Reilly runs his mouth at the office and calls women  racy stuff like “hot chocolate” or leers and grunts at them.
His career is ruined, and rightly so.
Meanwhile, this other group of folks streams a steady diet of vulgarity and misogyny into impressionable young minds while simultaneously aggrandizing drug use and violence.
They become rich and famous and get invited to the White House where they are held in high regard.
It seems weird to me.