Women's Rights Group Flies "Drop O'Reilly" Banner Over Manhattan Ahead of Protest

WeAreUltraViolet Bill O'Reilly Banner - Publicity - H 2017
Courtesy of WeAreUltraViolet

The banner reads "Fox: #DropOReilly, The Sexual Predator."

Women's rights group UltraViolet organized a protest in New York on Tuesday against Fox News' Bill O'Reilly amid his sexual harassment controversy. The group is demanding the O'Reilly Factor host be fired from the network.

The protest was held at Fox News headquarters in New York at 1:30 p.m. ET and video of the demonstration was streamed live on Facebook. A plane flew a banner that read "Fox: #DropOReilly, The Sexual Predator" over the city in the hours leading up to the protest.

An UltraViolet rep told The Hollywood Reporter the plane would fly around the Statue of Liberty, by Battery Park, before flying up and down the Hudson River and East River.

UltraViolet is one of several groups calling for the firing of O'Reilly as advertisers pull 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 has recently run ads asking people if they have been harassed by the news anchor.

"Fox News has a problem with sexual assault — and it’s bigger than just Bill O’Reilly. For years, Fox News executives have provided cover for Bill O’Reilly’s systematic harassment and abuse of other Fox News employees — making it hard to take their promises to investigate such crimes seriously,” Shaunna Thomas, co-founder of UltraViolet, said in a statement. “Fox News needs to prove to the public — and its advertisers — that the era of covering up sexual assault is over. That means — firing Bill O’Reilly immediately and conducting a comprehensive and independent investigation into sexual abuse at the network — firing anyone involved in, or complicit in covering up, those crimes.”

The protest was attended by survivors of sexual harassment and assault, New York City Public Advocate Letitia James and actress Kathy Najimy. James and the survivors spoke out about why it's important to hold those accused of sexual abuse accountable. UltraViolet and Color of Change, an organization devoted to combating racial injustice in corporations and government, also delivered a petition, with 480,000 signatures, they say, calling on Fox News to fire O'Reilly.

UltraViolet has also done a campaign against ousted Fox News chief Roger Ailes and another calling for the release of unaired The Apprentice footage of former host Donald Trump.

O'Reilly himself likely wasn't in his Fox News office to see the banner or protest as he's on vacation this week, returning on April 24.