By: Harrison McCroskey
Fox news has had a string of scandalous incidents occur, involving employees such as Roger Ailes, former chairman, and, most recently, Bill O’Reilly, former news anchor. Both reporters have been fired because of their affiliation with sexual harassment: Ailes in July of last year, and O’Reilly on April 19 of this year.
In early April of this year, Ailes was accused of sexual harassment by a Fox News Commentator, Julie Roginsky. The list of women who have accused Ailes has proliferated to over 20. Despite a substantial amount of witnesses, including Megyn Kelly and Laurie Dhue. Ailes’ lawyer, Susan Estrich denied their claims. , “[Roginsky’s] interactions with Mr. Ailes were not even close to the fictional version she wants people to believe now,” she said in an interview with the New York Times.
After a 21 year period of hosting his show, “The O’Reilly Factor”, O’Reilly is now unemployed. He, like Ailes, has a history of being accused by women of sexual harassment prior to this month. In 2004, a former producer of the O’Reilly Factor, Andrea Mackris, sued him for sexual harassment. In order to preserve his good name, he paid her nine million dollars. Then, on April 1, Fox News and 21st Century Fox issued five payouts to women totaling about $13 million so they would not pursue legal action. Due to the conflict between the women and O’Reilly, several notable sponsors withdrew their support: MW, Mitsubishi, Mercedes Benz, Hyundai, Sanofi US, and Allstate were among them.
“As a company we seek to partner with companies and programming that share our values of inclusion and diversity,” Hyundai said in a statement.
Despite the lack of corporate support, O’Reilly aired his show, not saying anything about the women’s allegations, or the corporations that stopped funding his show. On April 5, several other companies withdrew their support; nevertheless, President Donald Trump defended O’Reilly, “I think he’s a person I know well — he is a good person.”
On April 11, O’Reilly announced he would be taking a vacation, but it would be his last broadcast. One of the major reasons for his permanent leave of absence was a protest by a women’s group, UltraViolet, outside the Fox News headquarters in New York. They demanded that O’Reilly be fired. A petition of over 140,000 signatures called for his removal. The Sleeping Giants, an organization dedicated to stopping racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic and anti-Semitic news sites by stopping their ad dollars, had long advocated for O’Reilly’s removal. Finally, Fox fired O’Reilly on April 19 with a memo, signed by Rupert Murdoch, chairman of Fox News and his sons: James, 21st Century Fox CEO and Lachlan Murdoch, executive chairman of 21st Century Fox. They have been attempting to steer Fox away from negative publicity.
Despite the controversy that arose because of Ailes and O’Reilly, Glenn Beck, a political commentator, spoke regarding sexual harassment in the news station.
“This is not a conservative disease, it’s not a Fox disease, it’s a male disease,” he said to his radio audience.
There are, however, other issues are evident at Fox News. Kelly Wright, a black reporter who has been with Fox since 2003, was denied the airing of a series of positive stories about the African-American community because they, according to the complaint, “showed blacks in ‘too positive’ a light,’ according to CNN.
Whether the news station or the individual people are responsible for the unethical behavior, there is a clear repetition of Fox news employees doing them. Fox news is responsible for the immoral acts just as much as the individuals are.