Bill O’Reilly could be in trouble of being fired, with growing pressure on Fox News to dump the controversial host amid a growing sexual harassment scandal that comes just days after another racially charged incident.
A report this week found that O’Reilly and Fox News have paid close to $13 million to settle sexual harassment accusations against O’Reilly, leading to growing calls for him to be fired.
Fox News' Bill O'Reilly in harassment allegations https://t.co/wYjT7I0kiA
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) April 2, 2017
The sexual harassment revelations come just days after Bill O’Reilly sparked another controversy, this one for remarks about Congresswoman Maxine Waters. O’Reilly joked to a panel on Fox & Friends that President Donald Trump was distracted by the representative’s “James Brown wig,” comments that were criticized as sexist and racially charged.
Many people called for Bill O’Reilly to be fired in the wake of his comments about Waters, with some noting that radio host Don Imus was fired after making another derisive comment about African-American women’s hair.
I seem to recall Don Imus being fired for similar commentary about black women; though in that case, not about a *member of congress.* https://t.co/2d2ldkCv92
— Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) March 28, 2017
Bill O’Reilly would go on to issue an apology for his comments.
“As I have said many times, I respect Congresswoman Maxine Waters for being sincere in her beliefs,” he said in a prepared statement (via Business Insider). “I said that again today on Fox & Friends calling her ‘old school.’ Unfortunately, I also made a jest about her hair which was dumb. I apologize.”
The apology did not go over well with many who said O’Reilly appeared to downplay the sexist and racial undertones to his criticism, and just days later another damaging revelation came out against O’Reilly. A report from the New York Times found that O’Reilly and Fox News paid out a total of $13 million to settle sexual harassment allegations against the Fox News host.
“An investigation by the New York Times has found a total of five women who have received payouts from either Mr. O’Reilly or the company in exchange for agreeing to not pursue litigation or speak about their accusations against him. The agreements totaled about $13 million,” the report noted.
The report elicited another response from Bill O’Reilly.
“Just like other prominent and controversial people, I’m vulnerable to lawsuits from individuals who want me to pay them to avoid negative publicity,” O’Reilly said (via the Boston Herald).
Fox News parent, Bill O’Reilly paid $13 million to settle five employees’ sexual-harassment claims https://t.co/QcxrZgFWfx
— Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) April 2, 2017
But amid the controversy, 21st Century Fox appeared to stand behind Bill O’Reilly.
“21st Century Fox takes matters of workplace behavior very seriously,” the company said in a prepared statement sent to the New York Times. “Notwithstanding the fact that no current or former Fox News employee ever took advantage of the 21st Century Fox hotline to raise a concern about Bill O’Reilly, even anonymously, we have looked into these matters over the last few months and discussed them with Mr. O’Reilly. While he denies the merits of these claims, Mr. O’Reilly has resolved those he regarded as his personal responsibility. Mr. O’Reilly is fully committed to supporting our efforts to improve the environment for all our employees at Fox News.”
Others have called on the company to fire Bill O’Reilly after the sexual harassment claims.
— Heather Whaley (@HeatherWhaley) March 29, 2017
— Real Shecky (@TheRealShecky) April 2, 2017
Despite the rising calls for him to be ousted, there is no word from Fox News that Bill O’Reilly could be in trouble of being fired.
[Featured Image by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images]