It would appear that Fox News has created a culture of extreme disrespect for women. Roger Ailes, the former chairman, fell from grace after it was discovered that he had harassed multiple women, but now history is repeating itself with one of the channel’s biggest celebrities, Bill O’Reilly.
Fox News has paid out millions of dollars in settlements to silence the women accusing O’Reilly of inappropriate behavior, a move that many consider to be suspicious. While O’Reilly claims that he is merely being targeted because he is so famous, those with expertise in this field find it doubtful that Fox would have paid out such large sums of money unless there was some evidence to back up the accusations.
Some of the accusations come from employees of Fox News, while others derive from those who have appeared on the network as guests. All of them felt some degree of fear about speaking out, but they felt strongly that they needed to combat this toxic environment for their own sake and for the sake of any women who wanted to break into this business. The pattern of disrespect and lewdness sets a very bad precedent.
Multiple women have described being the victims of unwanted sexual advances. When they refused these advances, their careers suffered as a result. Several of them complained that O’Reilly had called them on the phone while sexually stimulating himself, and others recalled his trying to convince them to accompany him to a hotel room.
This type of behavior should not be occurring in a contemporary workplace. However, despite Fox’s claims that it is dedicated to the well-being of its female employees, it is clear that the network could use a lot of work in this department. The only way to ensure that this despicable behavior stops is to expose it fully for what it is.