Feminists believe O'Reilly firing motivated by ad money, not harassment

Posted at 6:08 PM, Apr 20, 2017

Even after word of Bill O'Reilly's firing from Fox News broke, Wednesday, his picture remained on posters outside Fox News Headquarters in Midtown Manhattan.

Those posters read "nobody moves this man."

By Thursday morning, those posters had too been removed.

O'Reilly was the king of cable news for 20 years. His ratings didn't budge as allegations of sexual assault continued to mount against him.

After being off the air for a few days, Fox News parent News Corporation made the decision to not allow him to return.

O'Reilly's ouster comes less than a year after Fox News chairman Rodger Ailes was fired for similar allegations.

Michelle Fine and Linda Martîn Alcoff are professors of women's studies at the Graduate Center at City University of New York.

Neither believe Fox News was taking a stand against sexual harassment, as News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch had vowed following Ailes' ouster, but the company reacting to advertisers pulling their support.

"Corporations are being called on their ethics and advertisers pulled their money," Fine said. "I do think that even though Fox News is clearly motivated by advertising, that there was a kind of solidarity. Advertisers were recognizing that violence against women maybe doesn't sell."

Martîn Alcoff, who is writing a book on rape and sexual violation, agrees.

"It doesn't tell us they're concerned about sexism or the conditions of women in the workplace," she said.

Martîn Alcoff says what limited data there is shows women often face harassment in the workplace.

"All of that data that we have is very limited because people don't report it."

She said up to 75 percent of women don't report workplace harassment.

Fine hopes that is finally starting to change.

"I do think there is a rising sensibility that this shouldn't be tolerated," she said.

O'Reilly continues to deny the allegations, but is reportedly getting more than $10 million to leave Fox News.