Once again, a man with an overgrown ego, known for his bluster and rudeness, has been laid low by what he called “unsubstantiated allegations” regarding his behavior.
Employed at Fox News Corporation for more than 20 years, Bill O’Reilly became the face and voice of an organization pandering a “populist,” right-wing ideology while lining its shareholders’ pockets. He rode roughshod over everybody in the organization except CEO and Fox News chairman Roger Ailes. Ailes’ own blind defense of O’Reilly’s indiscretions was bizarre, given his own similar boorish behavior that led to his being shown the door 10 months earlier.
Why O’Reilly decided to settle his legal matters rather than having his day in court to challenge such “spurious charges” is suspect. Perhaps it was the reality of being confronted by many women willing to speak truth to power that he could not abide, or the ensuing publicity that would trail after him like the stench of shit on a shoe sole. More than likely it was his reading of the tea leaves while “on vacation” and remembering the employment termination/escape clause in his contract, which would give him at least a $25 million bailout parachute from a crippled airliner.
No matter. In the end, the day belongs to the women who fought to keep this story alive, whether they received financial compensation or not. They were courageous in putting their professional lives on the line. Perhaps, these brave women’s actions will have a ripple effect, not only empowering more women, but also inspiring the men who work side by side with them to display the same integrity when misogynist and racist comments and behavior occur in the workplace, and to stand up together.
And what now of Mr. O’Reilly? Well, I wouldn’t worry too much about Billy. I understand there is an opening on The Apprentice. Maybe he should call Donny. They’re friends, you know.
E.G. Singer lives in Santa Rosa.
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