Though we celebrated the well-paid ouster of Fox President Roger Ailes in 2016 and cheered the massive severance firing of Bill O’Reilly this year, the reality is that the culture of Fox has been and will continue to subject the women who work there to rampant sexism, harassment, and assault.
After all, even as Fox fired their deplorable top men, they did so with a grimace and lavishing the men in praise. Let’s not forget that neither Ailes nor O’Reilly were fired for their mistreatment of women, but rather for the large amount of bad press those allegations brought to the network after years of misconduct.
Both Ailes and O’Reilly were able to succeed at Fox because Fox didn’t care who they assaulted, pressured, or violated for their own pleasure and power. Instead, Fox footed the bill for FIVE sexual harassment cases lodged against O’Reilly, paying out a whopping $13 million, clearly nothing compared to the millions his popular show raked in yearly. Fox was well aware of Ailes’ long list of harassed women and continued to allow him to be alone with and act in a predatory manner towards young, newly-hired women at the network.
O’Reilly and Ailes didn’t just hit on these women, they coerced them into sexual behavior at the risk of losing a promotion or their jobs. Both men engaged in repeated campaigns of assault against women who made it clear that they were not interested, and when they finally stood up for themselves and filed suits, it was they, not the men, who were forced to leave the network and even their field.
So yes, seeing less of O’Reilly and Ailes is a net win, but the reality is that so many of the daily indignities the women of Fox face all happen outside the sphere of influence of these ousted men.
Not sure if you believe me? Watch this video put together by “The Daily Show” which features a number of real clips from real Fox shows in which women are, on air, subjected to extreme instances of objectification and sexualization while merely trying to do their jobs. While watching this video, also remember that this what these men say on camera – imagine how much worse they are behind the scenes.
This culture did not change with the firing of Ailes, it won’t change with the firing of O’Reilly, and it is an insult to women everywhere that it is able to continue on the conservative network.