I’m certainly glad that Fox took such a strong stand against sexual harassment. This will teach people that harassing more than 5 or so women will not be tolerated, except for the $25 million they’ll give you for not showing up for work. That’ll send a chill down the spines of those who would harass women, huh?
For most normal mortals, a $25 million payout would be a dream come true, a win of epic proportions. Our financial woes would be over…and we’d relish never having to work another day in our lives.
It’s difficult to imagine such a princely sum being associated with a punishment…but Bill O’Reilly isn’t like you or me. He lives in a different world, that magical 1% land where everything- even truly bad things- only serves to make one wealthier. If you’re having trouble wrapping your head around the idea that O’Reilly got $25 million from Fox News Channel (FNC) to go away…well, you’re in good company.
The day after Bill O’Reilly was ousted from Fox News, aftershocks rippled through the network, with news of Mr. O’Reilly’s exit package spreading through the newsroom and some employees questioning how committed executives were to rooting out sexual harassment.
Mr. O’Reilly is receiving a payout of as much as $25 million, equivalent to one year of his salary, two people familiar with the matter said Thursday. That development was met with “outrage” and “disgust” among some employees and among critics outside the company, who said it sent a message that a powerful newsroom figure could profit even after multiple sexual harassment allegations had been made against him.
“It’s terrible,” said Lisa Bloom, a lawyer who represents two women who reported sexual harassment allegations against Mr. O’Reilly. “Most people would consider $25 million a huge lottery win.”
A “huge lottery win?” Gee, d’ya think? And that doesn’t even take into account the $13 million FNC had already paid out to women who previously accused him of sexual harassment. What business pays to settle lawsuits (real or potential) if they feel they’d win in court? Even with a “lowest ultimate cost” consideration in play, paying that kind of money is a significant blow to a business which must ultimately answer to its shareholders.
And that’s not even the worst of it.
Mr. O’Reilly’s package brought the total amount of payouts related to sexual harassment allegations at Fox News to more than $85 million — paid by the network’s parent company, 21st Century Fox. The vast majority of that — as much as $65 million in exit packages — is being paid to the men who were ousted because of the allegations.
Former FNC Chairman- and O’Reilly’s boss- Roger Ailes was fired nine months ago for similar accusations of sexual harassment. His punishment? Walking away with a $40 million payout. And this from a company which now claims to be committed to fostering a “a work environment built on the values of trust and respect?” Evidently “trust and respect” don’t mean what it used to.
I understand FNC’s contractual obligations to O’Reilly and Ailes. That said, it’s astonishing they couldn’t come up with a mutually agreeable contract precluding payouts for sexually inappropriate behavior in the workplace. The very clear message sent by this is that if you’re prominent and powerful enough, you can get away with anything. Even if you’re caught and fired, you’ll still walk away with a financial settlement which will make certain you’re set for life.
THAT’S punishment? Not only is it a disgusting commentary on the sexually predatory culture at FNC, it represents an attempt to clean up the “old boy’s network” without making any real and/or substantial changes.
Boys will be boys…and when they get out of line, we’ll just pay them to go away.