MARC H. MORIAL

(TriceEdneyWire.com)—“Bill O’Reilly has helped set the bar for the normalization and dissemination of right-wing hatred, offering incendiary commentary about sexual harassment and assault, gender, race and ethnicity, low-income people, the LGBTQ community, Muslims and refugees, immigrants, and reproductive rights..”—Media Matters for America

Bill O’Reilly’s public downfall was a long time in the making—set in motion by a string of sexual harassment claims and the hemorrhaging of high-profile advertisers from “The O’Reilly Factor,” a Fox News channel mainstay and money maker.

According to reporting by the New York Times, for a period that spanned 15 years, O’Reilly and 21st Century Fox—the parent company for Fox News—together settled five separate allegations of sexual harassment brought by female Fox employees—which included accusations of verbal abuse, unwanted advances and explicit comments—for $13 million. And since that report was published, more women have come forward alleging gross and inappropriate behavior by Fox’s biggest star.

O’Reilly’s cable news program was—and remains–a cash cow for Fox News. It is nothing short of a testament to the show’s money generating power and vaulted cable ratings perch that Fox News kept O’Reilly on payroll as the company quietly purchased the silence of his accusers for over a decade. In a nod to television’s obsession with re-runs, the so-called swift end to O’Reilly’s career at Fox News was preceded by a similar scandal involving Roger Ailes, the network’s co-founder and then-chairman. Accused of multiple acts of sexual harassment, 21st Century Fox paid out $35 million to Gretchen Carlson, a former Fox News anchor, and several unidentified women to settle their lawsuit against Ailes. Fox News also lost two top hosts, Greta Van Susteren and Megyn Kelly (who later accused Ailes of sexual harassment) and paid $40 million in severance to Ailes in the ensuing fallout.

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