Women's Rights Group: Bill O'Reilly "Deserves This Downfall"

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Bill O'Reilly

Fox News announced Wednesday that it was cutting ties with the disgraced host and multiple women's rights organizations were quick to respond.

Women's rights groups UltraViolet and National Organization for Women (NOW) released statements Wednesday to The Hollywood Reporter following the news that Bill O'Reilly is departing Fox News amidst sexual harassment claims.

"O'Reilly deserves this downfall," NOW president Terry O'Neill said in a press release titled "Good riddance." She continued, "The many sexual harassment allegations leveled against him reveal a clear and ugly pattern of misogynistic behavior. It would be an insult to women everywhere to allow him to retain his coveted primetime television slot."

"Bill O’Reilly is a serial sexual predator, a bigot and a misogynist. He will not be missed," said Shaunna Thomas, co-founder of UltraViolet. A day prior to the Fox News announcement, UltraViolet staged a protest at Fox News headquarters in New York City. It also flew a plane with a banner reading "Fox: #DropOReilly, The Sexual Predator" over the city.

"But Fox News’ problem with sexual harassment and assault is way bigger than just Bill O’Reilly," continued Thomas. Her organization said that the next scandal for Fox News might be "just months away" and that the network should fire "all those found guilty of, or complicit in, covering up sexual harassment" at the company.

NOW and UltraViolet are both holding Fox News accountable. NOW said Fox News "condoned and even supported O'Reilly's heinous misconduct for years" and said New York City and State authorities should conduct a "thorough, independent investigation" into the "culture of sexual and racial harassment at Fox News."

Following reports O'Reilly is getting up to $25 million in his exit deal, NOW released the following statement:

"Twenty-five million dollars for a sexual predator is obscene. Fox News needs to show Bill O’Reilly the door without a multi-million dollar payday. And that is not all. Roger Ailes’s hand-picked successor Bill Shine must go, and the Murdoch family must install leadership that actually will end the organization’s culture of sexual and racial harassment. Until that happens, no advertiser should waste their money on this troubled network."

Workplace Fairness has also commented on O'Reilly's exit. The organization's vice president Darnley Stewart says:

“Better late than never. When 21st Century Fox fired Roger Ailes last year, it pledged a ‘zero-tolerance policy’ for behavior that disrespects women. It may have taken a while and the loss of dozens of advertisers, but Fox has done the right thing in ridding the workplace of Bill O’Reilly.”

Read NOW's full statement on O'Reilly's exit below.

Bill O’Reilly has been unmasked as a vicious sexual predator — and Fox News has done the right thing by booting him from the network.

O’Reilly deserves this downfall. The many sexual harassment allegations leveled against him reveal a clear and ugly pattern of misogynistic behavior. It would be an insult to women everywhere to allow him to retain his coveted primetime television slot.

Pressure to remove O’Reilly grew when another victim of O’Reilly’s came forward this week — an African-American clerical worker who O’Reilly referred to as “hot chocolate.” This anonymous woman’s report is a chilling reminder of the strong link between sexual and racial harassment — and the desperate need for action.

O’Reilly may be out, but this isn’t over. Fox News condoned, and even supported, O’Reilly’s heinous misconduct for years — along with former chairman Roger Ailes and, reportedly, other Fox News executives. The public has the right to know the facts about the toxic culture of harassment that appears to be endemic at the network.

NOW is calling for a thorough, independent investigation by New York City and State authorities into the culture of sexual and racial harassment at Fox News, and for appropriate accountability measures to be taken. How else can we be reassured that women will never again be subjected to this inhumane treatment while their harassers continue to pocket eight-figure salaries?

If Fox News wants to show women even an ounce of respect, a lot more needs to happen beyond firing Bill O’Reilly.

Read UltraViolet's full statement below.

Bill O’Reilly is a serial sexual predator, a bigot and a misogynist. He will not be missed.

But Fox News’ problem with sexual harassment and assault is way bigger than just Bill O’Reilly. For years, Fox News executives, like Bill Shine, have provided cover for systematic sexual harassment and abuse of Fox News' employees. From Roger Ailes to Bill O’Reilly, Fox News has consistently failed to provide a workplace safe from sexual harassment and abuse — and that’s a big problem.

The fact that Fox News is only taking action against O’Reilly after an investigation revealed that they could be defrauding shareholders by not revealing payments made to cover up the abuse isn’t lost on anyone. The first accusations of sexual assault lobbed against Bill O’Reilly at Fox News were made more than 13 years ago.

Unless Fox News makes the results of the investigation public, and fires all those found guilty of, or complicit in, covering up sexual harassment — advertisers and the general public will continue to have cause for concern. 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.

UltraViolet was one of several groups who called for the firing of O'Reilly as advertisers pulled out in the wake of a New York Times story reporting O'Reilly and Fox News allegedly paid $13 million to women who claimed that he sexually harassed them. UltraViolet started its anti-O'Reilly campaign last summer and had recently run ads asking people if they have been harassed by the news anchor.

UltraViolet had also done a campaign against ousted Fox News chief Roger Ailes.

The Women's March joined its voice to the group decrying O'Reilly and claiming victory in his Fox News exit after "his heinous actions against women."

The group went on to warn other companies and businesses that they will not support anyone protecting anyone involved with sexual harassment. "This isn’t about partisan politics, it’s about what’s right and wrong." 

Read the full statement below. 

21st Century Fox's announcement that Bill O'Reilly will not return to Fox News is yet another example of how when we put pressure on businesses and corporations, we come out victorious.

After years of allegations and complaints, Fox News finally held Bill O’Reilly accountable for his heinous actions against women—they did so because the voices of so many people demanded that companies take action. We demonstrated once again that by organizing, tweeting, and collaborating across movements; we win.

It’s time that corporations, businesses, and organizations alike join us on the right side of history. We represent a majority of the public, wanting to see an America where equity, tolerance, and compassion are our hallmarks. Those businesses that stand for those values will receive our support; those that do not will see their power diminish. This isn’t about partisan politics, it’s about what’s right and wrong. Abusing human rights, exploiting systematic inequality, and profiting off destruction are inexcusable and intolerable.

We encourage Fox News to look further into their practices and policies to ensure that this doesn’t happen again and to commit to creating safe and healthy work environments for all of people.”

The Women’s March launched a social media campaign to #DropOReilly that asked women to share their stories around sexual harassment in the workplace. In addition to collective efforts of national groups, the voices of the thousands of women that participated by courageously sharing their stories were critical in the dismissal of Bill O’Reilly from Fox News. 

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