MORE SEXUAL HARASSMENT AT FOX NEWS
It wasn’t long ago that Roger Ailes’ sexual harassment situation at Fox News was in the limelight. The pattern continues. Bill O’Reilly, one of America’s most popular (though controversial) newsmen, just got fired after a scalding New York Times report claiming O’Reilly cost the network’s parent company, 21st Century Fox, millions of dollars in sexual harassment settlements. Payments totaled $13 million, with Fox picking up the tab for three of the suits, and O’Reilly for two.
A few examples of the women who brought forth allegations against O’Reilly include Andrea Mackris, former producer at Fox. She filed a sexual harassment suit against O’Reilly in 2004, alleging lurid conduct. Juliet Huddy secured a settlement over O’Reilly’s alleged sexual advances in 2011. O’Reilly also made sexual advances to a guest on his show, Wendy Walsh, in 2013. When Walsh declined O’Reilly’s offer, he became hostile towards her and behaved only like his viewers have witnessed before. O’Reilly’s brand of alleged bad behavior involves salacious phone calls, suggestive comments, threats against women who threatened to expose his bad behavior. Sound familiar?
The New York Times article explained that details of the allegations against O’Reilly and the company’s responses are based on “more than five dozen interviews” with current and former employees, people close to O’Reilly and the women. “Most spoke on the condition of anonymity, citing confidentiality agreements and fear of retaliation. The Times also examined more than 100 pages of documents and court filings related to the complaints.”
Moving forward, both employers and employees can benefit from awareness. Organizations should take proactive steps to ensure a workplace environment free of harassing behavior, by including policies that include the prohibition of sexual harassment and by completing swift and thorough investigations. Most importantly, cultivate a culture where sexual harassment is not welcome or tolerated. This is where Fox News has failed.
If you feel that you or someone you know is a victim of sexual harassment or abuse in the workplace, there are laws and organizations that can help. It is time for sexual harassment to stop. Please do your part by speaking up.