From Factor to Failure: What Black Leaders Can Learn from the O’Reilly Debacle

By | April 26, 2017

Former Fox News Channel anchor Bill O’Reilly, the man whose lofty ratings were responsible for the growth of the network, is no longer on the air. Revelations that $13 million had been paid, either by O’Reilly or the network, to women who said they had been sexually harassed repelled millions, some of whom protested outside Fox headquarters and took to the airwaves with their complaints. But it is unlikely that protests or complaints moved Fox to separate themselves from O’Reilly. Instead, it is most likely that the network severed ties with O’Reilly, because advertisers did not want to be associated with a program anchored by a man who seemed to find nothing wrong with sexual harassment.

More than 52 advertisers pulled ad spots from The O’Reilly Factor program, in the wake of The New York Times article about the payouts. They included Advil, Mercedes, BMW, Jenny Craig, Hyundai, Allstate, Lexus and H&R Block. The O’Reilly Factor was the highest revenue-generator in cable television, bringing in about $120 million in the first nine months of 2016. The O’Reilly Factor dominated the 8 p.m. weekday hour, drawing more viewers than any other cable network.

Don’t cry for Bill O’Reilly. He is leaving Fox News with “tens of millions of dollars” in a settlement; be concerned, instead, for the women who have had to put up with his odious behavior; be concerned for those who didn’t come forward to get paid because they were afraid for their jobs, or because they feared they would not be believed; be concerned for the Black woman that O’Reilly allegedly called “Hot Chocolate,” grunted when he saw her, and behaved so badly that she was frightened for her safety. (Black Press USA)

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