Fox News is in the headlines yet again for another antic about one of their broadcasters; this time it’s for a stupid decision. Bill O’Reilly is being forced out by the large news outlet with a payout of up to $25 million, the equivalent of one year of his salary.
But why is this outrageous you may ask? Because the company is forcing O’Reilly due to sexual harassment allegations. 7 allegations to be exact. They are paying him to leave their company.
O’Reilly, 67, was forced out of the network on Wednesday; following the disclosure of a series of sexual harassment allegations against him and an internal investigation that unveiled more women with complaints about his behavior on and off set.
He started at Fox News in 1996, and has been considered the network’s best. His nightly program, “The O’Reilly Factor,’’ has always brought in high ratings and pulled in millions of dollars in advertising revenues. And although the allegations have been reportedly coming out for years now, the company still willingly kept him in fear of losing those delicate ratings.
The New York Times did an investigation and discovered he and the company had reached settlements with five women who had complained about inappropriate behavior by him. The agreements totaled to about $13 million, the majority paid by him. So he gave women money out of his own pocket to save his butt because he knew the repercussions.
But wait, it gets better.
In January of this year his contract was extended for four years with Fox News, in the middle of when the allegations were really coming through and the network had already reached two settlements. So they wanted him despite being well aware of his personal situation.
Now, I understand that the actions performed by an individual in their personal life outside of isn’t always something that should affect their workplace. But sexual harassment is something that can and should largely influence their career; especially if you are someone in the spotlight.
21st Century Fox (Fox News’ parent company) has paid out $85 million to their talent who have been forced out due to similar allegations. All of that money is being given to men who have been kicked to the curb by the network because they’ve been accused of sexual assault, and they don’t want to hold their ground and do the right thing.
Why is it so hard for companies to let their employees go because of scandals, especially when they are heavily involved. It’s pathetic that these crimes are being committed on set or in the building of these networks by the faces of some of their largest television personalities. It’s even more pathetic (and unethical) for these stations to do their best to try and keep these positions open to their controversial stars because they don’t want to lose ratings and popularity.
As a millennial woman I am disgusted by this decision to let him go and pay him a large sum of money. Fox is setting a horrible example to society about news outlets handle their employees, proves that they are giving women a place to feel powerless and abused in a place they’re supposed to feel empowered and confident, and shows how it’s a mans world. If a woman on the network was to be accused of similar accusations she would be released in no time with zero pay.
There are thousands of journalists around the world, myself included, who are struggling to find work. And it’s painfully difficult for us to sit back and watch other journalists who have been accused of horrible crimes and accusations still continue to get praise and support by their networks. And what kind of message does this send to viewers back home? That by keeping these individuals they support that kind of behavior.
However, they did let O’Reilly go which is great for the company. But why must they pay him that much money just to get rid of him? They’re paying a monster more money than what most citizens make in a life time.
Obviously details from his contract aren’t released to the media so we won’t know why he’s actually getting this money, although I’m sure it’ll be released now. But we can agree on the fact that the media needs to change the way they treat journalists. Because the bigger names in the industry influence the most people, and by allowing this behavior to continue shows the public that their being rewarded and that it’s okay when it’s the farthest thing from it.
Featured Image via Futureatlas.com