By Dani Graham
Sexual harassment scandals
have changed the face of Fox News after taking down its founder and CEO, Roger Ailes and now it’s top-rated host, Bill O’Reilly.
It was 9 months ago when a former host of the network, Gretchen Carlson, bravely decided to stand up and speak out when she filed suit against Roger Ailes for sexual harassment. Her courage to share her story opened the floodgates by empowering a multitude of women to come forward with their own experiences.
Once Ailes resigned Fox vowed to continue their “long-standing” values of “trust and respect” all while remaining silent about the numerous sexual harassment allegations made against Bill O’Reilly, the prominent host of The O’Reilly Factor.
They remained silent for years as one woman after another accused the now embattled host of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior. Continuing to employ O’Reilly while attempting to silence his accusers by contributing to the $13 million in settlements allotted to at least 5 of those women is the very antithesis of “trust and respect”.
Instead, it took an article by the New York Times to reveal the true atmosphere that existed at Fox News. The news of the history of sexual harassment allegations and settlements made by O’Reilly and Fox News prompted a former Fox contributor, Wendy Walsh, to reveal her own experience of sexual misconduct by Bill O’Reilly.
A mass exodus of advertisers began in the wake of the O’Reilly controversy. As repercussions hit Fox’s bottom line they were finally motivated to take action.
The announcement of Bill O’Reilly’s incandescent removal came just one day after a second woman sought representation by Walsh’s lawyer, Lisa Bloom, and a few hours after a third woman emerged.
I represent a third O'Reilly accuser, who claims sex discrimination and retaliation. We just called in her report to the hotline.
— Lisa Bloom (@LisaBloom) April 19, 2017
The removal of two of the most powerful men in media sends a message to all women in the workforce. As a longtime media executive, Vivian Schiller said: “We found out, in all this, that if you speak up, there will be action, and that there’s strength in numbers,”.
It may have taken a couple decades for Fox News to end the reign of O’Reilly yet finding his replacement was more expeditious. Mere hours after the network announced O’Reilly’s departure they broke the news that Tucker Carlson would be the replacement for their most coveted spot.
Tucker Carlson seems to be the main beneficiary of the way the Murdoch family handles internal strife and hostility along with the fall outs that follow. It was only recently he took over the 9 PM slot once held by Megyn Kelly who left the network in January. One of the contributing factors to her exit was when the Murdoch’s ignored her pleas to put an end to Bill O’Reilly public shaming of her after she revealed her own experience of sexual harassment at the hands of Rodger Ailes.
Now just a few short months after Tucker replaced Megyn Kelly he has been given the most prestigious of positions at Fox News.
“The Five” will now be on at 9 PM while Martha MacCallum and Sean Hannity will both remain in their current slots at 7 PM and 10 PM respectively. Outside Bill O’Reilly’s absence not much has changed at Fox. There won’t be any new faces, fresh ideas or opposing views. All they did was simply move a few pieces around their game board so in the end expect more of the same as far as commentary and reporting. It’s safe to say that they will remain President Trump’s go to place for news before retreating to his Twitter account.
As people turn on Fox News they can rest assure they will continue to be fed the message they want to hear. However, behind the scenes, it is now a safer place for the women who work there.