Opinion: At Fox News, a culture deep in misogyny and intimidation

(AP)

Two major companies, Mercedes Benz and Hyundai, have announced that they will no longer advertise their products on Bill O’Reilly’s show on Fox News after revelations of multiple, repeated sexual-harassment cases that have ended in roughly $13 million in payments to victims.

“The allegations are disturbing and, given the importance of women in every aspect of our business, we don’t feel this is a good environment in which to advertise our products right now,” a Mercedes spokesperson explained.

No kidding.

(UPDATE at 1 p.m.: The number of advertisers dropping O’Reilly’s show has grown to five with BMW, Untuckit and Constant Contact announcing their withdrawal.)

(UPDATE at 5 p.m.: The number of previous major advertisers blackballing O’Reilly is now nine with the addition of GlaxoSmithKline; T. Rowe Price; Allstate; and Sanofi Consumer HealthCare.

(UPDATE at 6 p.m.: According to CNN, the count is now at 15, with Mitsubishi Motors, Lexus, Bayer, Ainsworth Pet Nutrition, Allstate, Esurance and Wayfair joining the list.

In fact, it’s pretty stunning that the fallout has taken this long to develop. In most modern corporate environments, one sexual-harassment case ending in a major payout would be considered extremely serious; two would be enough to end not just a job but a career. So far, O’Reilly has been involved in at least five documented cases in which either he or the network agreed to pay major damages. In most of those cases, O’Reilly is accused of using his power and visibility to pressure women into unwelcome sexual relationships in return for professional favors.

Other women, such as former O’Reilly guest Wendy Walsh, have also come forward with their stories even though they have no intention of filing suit. As Walsh noted in a press conference Monday, the women who have accepted previous settlement payments from Fox or O’Reilly are usually not allowed to speak publicly about their experience as a condition of those settlements.

“Nobody can buy my voice,” Walsh said. “My truth is not for sale.”

This goes well beyond questions of morality;  it is outright predatory and apparently compulsive behavior by O’Reilly. Most men, having survived one or even two such workplace scandals, would have dramatically changed their behavior, particularly if they hold such a high-profile job. Even if they believed themselves innocent of the charges — especially if they believed themselves innocent — other men would take steps to ensure that they would never again be in a situation where credible claims could be made against them.

Not our Bill. Not at Fox News. Something in that corporate environment convinced O’Reilly that such caution was unnecessary, and it’s pretty clear where that “something” originated. Just last summer, Fox News was forced to oust its legendary longtime head, Roger Ailes, after multiple well-documented allegations that he too had repeatedly, grotesquely used the power of his office to extract sexual favors.

The tipping point came when longtime anchor Gretchen Carlson publicly alleged that she had been fired for refusing Ailes’ sexual advances, and when Fox News star Megyn Kelly reported that early in her career, Ailes had also pressured her to exchange professional advancement for sexual favors. At that point, Fox News had no choice but to part way with Ailes, although it gave him a $40 million buyout for doing so.

In responding to these most recent revelations, both Fox News and O’Reilly have made it a point to note that no complaints have ever been filed against the host through the company hotline or human resources department, as if that is exculpatory in some fashion. It is not. Instead, it supports allegations of a poisonous culture within Fox News in which female employees understood very well that any official complaints they might make would be ignored and in fact would make them targets for retaliation. Instead they suffered in silence, some perhaps succumbing to the pressure, others deciding to take their talents elsewhere.

(A new lawsuit filed Monday against Ailes by former Fox commentator Julie Roginsky describes that retaliation and environment in distressing detail.)

Naturally, defenders of Fox News and O’Reilly will cast all this in exclusively political terms; as they have in the past, they will try to call upon the strong tribal loyalty among conservatives to protest against this outbreak of “political correctness,” as if repeated and sustained predatory sexual behavior is something that only liberals would find objectionable.

But neither Fox nor O’Reilly are the victims here. To the contrary, the powerful role that Fox plays in conservative politics has insulated it from deserved criticism and to a degree enabled the predation by Ailes and O’Reilly. I have a hard time imagining any other major American corporation in the 21st century tolerating such a long record of unpunished misogyny and harassment and treating it as the price of doing business.

 

 

 

Reader Comments 1

1167 comments
Joy Longmire
Joy Longmire

The left would like nothing more than to bring down Fox News. They're not perfect, but they're the only legit news outlet around.

Whale750
Whale750

Nothing new here: women screaming "rape", "harassment" never ending sexual accusations that are absolutely false. They're seeking millions and being hired by far left media to try and bring down the number 1 news networks for a decade. These sleazy liberal media types are using these "cry wolf rapes and harassment " claims to further their extreme attacks on conservative political issues on the number 1 news network Fox and especially Bill O"Reilly. Their desperation to bring down honest political reporting using these "cry rape" and "harraasmemts" whining women. These women will eventually be working at Waffle House once being used up by these liberal socialists "news outlets".

Criying rape and harrasment has been used for decades to gain money and media jobs.

These phony claims are the lowest form of attacks on conservative networks. The sponsors are known for extreme "political correctness" views. They'll be replaced with wiser sponsors.

Jack Warner
Jack Warner

Lol. I read the headline and I was shocked, shocked I tell you to see that bookman was the writer. Can't seem to recall him saying this about the Clinton "sex parlor" I mean White House....

arthur bailey
arthur bailey


Well President P..ssy Grabber says Bill-O did nothing wrong.


Lee Griffith
Lee Griffith

So Fox breaks the story of Susan Rice and now the are the lefts enemy! OPINION: Bookman still sucks! Trump is still your president! Grow a set and get over it!

hamiltonAZ
hamiltonAZ

Someone said POTUS thinks O'Reilly did nothing wrong.  I didn't hear a word the President said because of that crazy wig he was wearing.


Carole Petz
Carole Petz

Of course! The Family Values network is a farce!

Robert Baker
Robert Baker

So many bad Folks at that News Network .

Barbara Candelaria Perkins
Barbara Candelaria Perkins

Lmao! Good!! Less commercials! That channel has more commercials than any other one!! They aren't hurting!!! Ajc. Does it again!!! Trump is still winning!!! Keep it up Libs! We feed off of this stuff!\U0001f602\U0001f602

Debra Fish
Debra Fish

LOL....the media is worried about Fox News but not the child trafficking by our politicians and media

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

 Most men, having survived one or even two such workplace scandals, would have dramatically changed their behavior, particularly if they hold such a high-profile job. Even if they believed themselves innocent of the charges — especially if they believed themselves innocent


Can vouch for this. I worked with a guy who when we were walking around the building wouldn't go near a desk with an unattended ladies purse. Over lunch I asked him why. He had been falsely accused of stealing before and wanted to stay as far away from that as possible.


Seems Bill Olielly has no such inner voice.

Summer Smith
Summer Smith

Opinion: Advertisers should also reconsider advertising with the AJC. Especially considering their track record of misleading, embellishing, sensationalizing, and simply not providing objective journalism. The AJC is a bias propaganda spreading organization. This is the type of tabloid reporting that is crippling America. Stop doing business with advertisers of the AJC!

Shelly Williams Kuras
Shelly Williams Kuras

This is an OPINION piece. Jay Bookman is a columnist and writes smart political editorials... his OPINION. It's clearly stated in the URL, in the title of the piece and below Mr. Bookman's name. A news article presents factual information about a situation, an event or disaster and has a timeliness connected to it. It is objective because no opinion or conclusions are included. Editorials are the position of newspapers. These are factual but highly opinionated and usually one-sided to make a point.

Ryan Mclean
Ryan Mclean

More LIES from the left to try and destroy people they don't like.

Reinhold Francis
Reinhold Francis

This is the white man hypocrisy, point out everything about others and deny and lie about himself.Can anyone imagine what fox would be saying if this scandal was coming from another network? Or if Bill was a black man?Remember all the coverage about Cosby and look at these two men .Such a shame and a scam.

Karen Warren Newman
Karen Warren Newman

CNN & MSNBC were all over it this morning with new allegations against a former white woman employed by Fox.

Kip Shondel
Kip Shondel

Only difference is Cosby admitted drugging women for sex. Allegations dont amount to anything without proof. I suppose next they are going to say Trump has ties with Russia.

Craig Johnson
Craig Johnson

If I'm a Republican, do I have the right to sexual harass women in the workplace? No? How can you be conservative and a freak between the sheets? Masturbate on the phone, grabbing them by the pu---y, let's go back to my hotel room. Any Republican female who supports this Ok? Will you perform for acts for a man? Just saying.

Karen Warren Newman
Karen Warren Newman

Marc Chessler Exactly. Clinton liked the young interns. Just think if Chelsea had been 22 and a 49 year old president had taken advantage of her.

Marc Chessler
Marc Chessler

Only of you were in the Clinton White House Craig,

Craig Johnson
Craig Johnson

Freida Fields Bulloch yo mama is a an idot old hag!

Craig Johnson
Craig Johnson

Karen Warren Newman you was black man in your life. Come on with your Republican self! Lol

JoAnn Deal
JoAnn Deal

WHERE IS THE PROOF he has done anything wrong, remember they accused Trump also and there was no there there!!

C Harrison Williams Jr.
C Harrison Williams Jr.

\U0001f914\U0001f914 So for Conservatives (judging from the upset commenters) Primarily Conservative Women .. As long as he's a Conservatives White Male .. It's Ok if he sexually assaults you? That's seems to be the sentiments ... Seems to me you ladies have a history of systemic abuse and have normalized the victim culture. You should seek IMMEDIATE HELP most certainly if any of you have daughters or even sons blaming "liberals" when facts are apparent is hiding behind the obvious , get some help before it's too late.

Whale750
Whale750

These claims of sexual harassment have NO ACTUAL PROOF but only opinions and third party claims.

Bill Mullen
Bill Mullen

This is a trumped up charge by the liberal media all these claims against O'Reilly or just financially motivated

David R. Thead
David R. Thead

AJC running with liberal fascism....journalists = basket weavers.

Carl Augustus Nix III
Carl Augustus Nix III

Look at Ted Kennedy. Look at President Bill Clinton. Two of the worst womanizers. Praised and loved from the left. Fox News kicks everyone's butt and has so many women in high positions. Any BIG place will have workplace issues like this. If true it is bad. But lib rag hack Bookman would not know what balanced journalism is if it hit him in the face attached to a Newsweek with Madame President Hillary on the cover!

Carl Augustus Nix III
Carl Augustus Nix III

Nikia Clifton Your pics looks like a man but name is a woman. Typical leftist hate filled comment full of racism. Why must you always play that card? Because you have ZERO substance. I disagree with you politically and you make a racially charged comment? It is clear who the racist is and the name is Nakia. Reported to FB! Typical racist black American calling thinking it is OK to make racist comments! She is Kenyan and a govt Lawyer and has degrees. She speaks three languages. Hard work and excellent parents. Do you even speak English....well? Did you even graduate HS? If no to either of these questions you are a typical hateful ignorant uneducated parrot sheep of the left and DNC.

Ryan Mclean
Ryan Mclean

Carl Augustus Nix III LOL I know carl I could never figure out if this loser troll is a man or a woman.

Ryan Mclean
Ryan Mclean

Carl Augustus Nix III Nikia is a notorious race troll on this site. Literally sits here all day and trolls on comments. Most are racial in nature.

Carl Augustus Nix III
Carl Augustus Nix III

Ryan Mclean Thanks! Tired of these personal attacks as a reasonable conservative that happens to love a black woman. She has been called my slave, so I own her, and now this. Always a black American making the comments. Sad.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

One last observation on sexism in America.  This is written especially for Donnie Pinko.


Donnie, here is the last part of a critique on Amazon by one of Dr. Susan Bordo's readers of her just published book, "The Destruction of Hillary Clinton:  Sexism, Sanders, and Millennial Feminists," which I thought was enlightening.  I hope you will think so, also:


". . . for its central premise is not only important to understand some of the powerful social forces that worked against Hillary Clinton's campaign. It'll be important if we're going to minimize such forces the next time a woman runs for President. As Bordo says it in her introduction, 'It’s a central premise of this book that the Hillary Clinton who was defeated in the 2016 election was, indeed, not a real person at all, but a caricature forged out of the stew of unexamined sexism, unprincipled partisanship, irresponsible politics, and a mass media too absorbed in optics to pay enough attention to separating facts from rumors, lies, and speculation.' While my policy preferences are more aligned with Sanders, I don't share others' hyperbolic distrust, distaste, and disrespect toward Hillary Clinton. I am troubled by such caricatures; and I'm thankful that Bordo wrote this important book."

Jeff Coburn
Jeff Coburn

Big time garbage. for one, Ive never seen a Mercedez commercial on Bills program, and number two? well that's just plain crap!

Whale750
Whale750

The liberal media has made up these so-called sponsors that have never used Fox.

Another example on the liberal media creating their "facts"..Phony news.

Stephanie Green
Stephanie Green

Attention White House confirms breaking news! Breaking : Fox News Reports Trump Administration in talks with Syrian Dictator Bashar Assad for the exchange of chemical nerve weapons. Secret Intelligence gathered the brokerage of chemical weapons in exchange for political leverage with Russia. Trump Administration to divide dissent in the United States, all loyalty to be valued by the marking of the beast. The rest are being detained at check points to be transported to holding centers. Trump Administration seeking loyalists to volunteer first at all local and federal police stations. All weapons will be seized upon duty. Let the wise calculate the number 666. Those not marked will be. . Stay tuned. .

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

And, yes, it is my belief that too much misogyny has shown itself in posts on this blog, both by women and men.  That observation does not make me superior in morality or in intelligence.  It makes me honest and aware.

Sharon Lariscy Feld
Sharon Lariscy Feld

yet people continue to support this Network because they refuse to face facts

Joe Fincher
Joe Fincher

I'm wondering if Bookman wrote about Bill Clinton?

Infraredguy
Infraredguy

Ossoff says he will cut current duplicate Government programs from 16 billion to 15.99 billion.

Trackbacks

  1. […] I posted these words on April 4, 2017, on AJC columnist Jay Bookman’s blog in response to his article given in the following link: http://jaybookman.blog.myajc.com/2017/04/04/opinion-at-fox-news-a-culture-deep-in-misogyny-and-intim… […]