Bill O’Reilly left for vacation two weeks ago, and much like your childhood dog Boxco, he never came back – his show entered that No-Spin Zone in the sky. O’Reilly’s sudden termination was surprising given that while his advertisers were fleeing, his ratings were actually up 28% – a signal by his fans that they didn’t care what (or who) the host did.
At this point, conservatives have to be fearful that their pundits are being targeted. In the past few months, Milo Yiannopoulos, Tomi Lahren, and now Bill O’Reilly have been dispatched by online mobs. It’s as if they were all on Arya Stark’s kill list, with Chelsea Clinton whispering their names before bed for their role in taking down her fallen mother.
If people were curious as to what exactly O’Reilly’s transgressions were, chances are they may have stumbled upon this View interview where a former temp at Fox News talked about how O’Reilly grunted at her a few times and once called her “hot chocolate.”
The media characterized this behavior as “relentless sexual and racial harassment.” But legally, these allegations are a big fat nothing. You can call people by the name of pretty much any hot beverage – “‘was’sup chamomile tea,” “looking good hot toddy,” or “hey there hot buttered rum” – and it still falls short of legal sexual harassment.
In order to have a successful sexual harassment claim in the United States, you either need to allege a quid-pro-quo (sleep with me or you’re fired) or allege that the harassment created a hostile work environment. A hostile work environment must be such that a reasonable person would find the work environment to be hostile or abusive, and it must be ongoing and pervasive. In other words, a reasonable person would have to think that a stray reference to warmed up cocoa created an abusive work environment.
But just because the temp’s case was without merit, doesn’t mean that O’Reilly was unfairly maligned – it just means that his other accusers weren’t giving interviews to Whoopi Goldberg. If you read the actual New York Times article on past and current O’Reilly allegations, you quickly see that there are multiple claims, made by respected people, who have evidence to back up their claims. Apparently the reason Bill spent half his show pushing No Spin Zone bric-a-brac was to help offset the $13 million in sexual harassment lawsuits he’d settled.
Per a 2004 lawsuit, O’Reilly was apparently recorded pleasing himself with a vibrator as he told one of his producers that he was going to rub her pussy with a loofah, which he later confused with a falafel. While this may seem milder than our president’s approach of just “grabbing” it, most of our workplaces would be considerably more hostile if our boss phoned us to let us know that he’d like to rub our privates with a Middle Eastern chickpea dish.
In 2011, O’Reilly paid out money to a Fox on-air personality who also had reportedly recorded his phone calls (though sadly there is no leak of what ethnic cuisine he wanted to lather her up with). Two other on-air personalities received settlements in 2016, with one alleging that she fell to the ground avoiding his kiss, and that again, he made inappropriate phone calls. If Fox was smart, at some point they’d have sat O’Reilly down and informed him that there are thousands of legal phone sex hotlines, and while they may be pricey at $9.95 a minute, they’re still cheaper than settling multi-million dollar sexual harassment lawsuits.
Currently, O’Reilly is involved with two other sexual harassment lawsuits. One woman alleges that O’Reilly cut her from his show after she refused to go to his Bel-Air hotel suite. Another Fox News host named Andrea Tantaros claims O’Reilly asked her to go to Long Island with him to see her “wild side.” Both women are gorgeous, despite the fact that he tried to seduce Tantaros by offering to bring her to Long Island, which is the equivalent of trying to take Emma Watson on a date to the Costco Food court.
None of this is to say that Bill O’Reilly had to be fired. He has a loyal fan base who loved his show. If ESPN can spend $125 million on its Sports Center set, Fox News can earmark millions of dollars in the budget to pay out sexual harassment suits for their top star’s compulsive phone sex behavior. They could also take precautions in the employee handbook, which could be shortened to one sentence – “Never give your phone number to Bill O’Reilly.”
But because all this real evidence existed, the View did a disservice to everyone when they aired this temp employee’s “hot chocolate” claims. It created the illusion that the liberal media was pushing out the biggest conservative star because someone making $9 an hour tried to get a big payout by accusing O’Reilly of looking at her strangely (and make no mistake, that is what the temp employee is doing).
But O’Reilly is not being forced out because he made a few grunts. He lost his show because for over a decade, he made aggressive, lewd advances to his colleagues. Those women recorded him, told him to stop, reported him, and sued him, and yet he is still continued to harass them.
Like his counterpart Anthony Weiner, he just couldn’t behave despite being given second and third chances – so he had to go. Now maybe O’Reilly can be Charles Precariousness and be the wingman to Weiner’s Carlos Danger, as they spend long nights on twitter DM’ing followers and asking them to wash their breasts with a piece of garlic naan. But after all these allegations, he can no longer be the face of a news network.
Now that he’s been forced out, O’Reilly is set to debut his own podcast. Hopefully it works out for him, because in the past, recorded audio hasn’t been so kind to him.