Los Angeles, CA (Law Firm Newswire) May 19, 2017 - Following a New York Times investigation revealing that five women had filed claims against Bill O'Reilly in the last 14 years, over 50 advertisers left Fox News, finally forcing 21st Century Fox to terminate the top-rated cable news host.
According to the New York Times, Fox and O’Reilly settled 5 claims of sexual harassment that occurred between 2002 and 20016 for over $13 million dollars. Despite his being a massive liability for Fox, O’Reilly was also a cash cow for the network, bringing in over $446 million dollars between 2014 and 2016.
Besides the women who reached settlements, other women have began speaking about the inappropriate behavior they endured from O'Reilly. One of these women, Wendy Walsh, a regular guest on O'Reilly's show, came forward to make claims against O’Reilly. The New York Times revealed that Fox News and its parent company, 21st Century Fox, had stood by O’Reilly as they settled with five previous victims who complained about sexual harassment and other inappropriate behavior.
“21st Century Fox has perpetuated a culture of sexism and harassment, which, unfortunately, is a symptom of a much larger problem facing women across corporate America. Six women who had the courage to speak out against this mogul are six women too many,” says Strong Advocates Executive Director, Betsy Havens. “At Strong Advocates, it is our mission to help women in similar situations take down their employers like Fox who have enabled this abuse to occur and force them to right their wrongs.”
The exposé has forced women in the company — and the public at large — to question whether Fox and its executives truly stood by their promise to run their company with a culture of “trust and respect.” The question was especially pertinent, as last year the company faced a sexual harassment scandal with Roger E. Ailes, who was ousted from his position of chairman of Fox News.
In the nine months following Ailes’ departure, Fox News was hit with several sexual harassment allegations, and many female employees stated they felt worried about reporting inappropriate behavior to the company. While the dismissal of O’Reilly was hailed by women’s rights advocates as a sign that the company was finally stepping in the right direction for workplace politics, the issue also brings to light the question of the company’s commitment to upholding sexual harassment policies. Even after O’Reilly’s departure, several female employees said they were skeptical about whether the way Fox News treats women would change.
O’Reilly’s scandal highlights the importance of open dialogue about sexual harassment in the workplace. For employees to feel safe and respected, companies big and small should be aware of how to prevent, identify and address cases of sexual harassment.
Though sexual harassment is widespread, it often goes unreported. Often, victims of sexual harassment do not realize that the unwanted behavior is illegal, or else they feel uncomfortable reporting the behavior to their supervisors.
May is Sexual Harassment Awareness month. Throughout the month, Strong Advocates will be accepting questions from the public about sexual harassment, and our legal team will offer answers through a live blog. Questions might include specific situations, legal definitions, deadlines, advice or other queries about sexual harassment in the workplace. All posts will be anonymous.
In our effort to maintain open dialogue and spread awareness about sexual harassment, Strong Advocates invites the public to field their questions to our legal team. To learn more about sexual harassment at work, please visit the Strong Advocates sexual harassment at work page.
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