While decent Americans have been beating themselves up over the presence of a misogynistic reality TV star in the White House, they would do well to remember that the majority of them not only voted for the first female presidential candidate, but are also willing to take serious action against perpetrators of sexual aggression against women. Just take a look at what corporate America is doing in response to the recent revelation in the New York Times that Bill O’Reilly and his employer Fox News paid five women $13m to settle allegations of harassment and inappropriate conduct. From the Guardian:
The automakers Hyundai, BMW and Mitsubishi, the financial firm T Rowe Price, the personal finance site Credit Karma, the insurer Allstate, the drugmakers Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline, the pet food company Ainsworth, the men’s shirt seller Untuckit, and the online marketing firm Constant Contact said Tuesday that they had joined Mercedes-Benz in pulling their ads from the show.
O’Reilly is the top draw at Fox News and thrived under the leadership of Roger Ailes — another sexual deviant who serially harassed female employees at the conservative network. O’Reilly has a history of sexual harassment at Fox News and was famously sued by Andrea Mackris 8 years ago for an enormous amount of money, so it is hardly surprising other women have come forward. But Fox News has deep pockets and as long as it is in their economic interests to keep O’Reilly around, they’ll keep pouring money into defending him. However, the actions taken by the corporate giants are a sure sign that American society has not completely succumbed to the misogyny and backwards thinking we see at the White House and on Fox News and has much to be proud of.
“The allegations are disturbing and, given the importance of women in every aspect of our business, we don’t feel this is a good environment in which to advertise our products right now,” Mercedes-Benz said in a statement on Monday.
Global financial firm T. Rowe Price told The Daily Beast that:
“We regularly evaluate our media buys to ensure alignment with our corporate values, and in light of the recent allegations we have decided to pull our upcoming ads from The O’Reilly Factor.”
It is important to note that the companies pulling their ads did not do so due to consumer pressure — a sign that society as a whole takes sexual harassment far more seriously than ever before.
Fox News is ultimately a business and it makes money primarily from selling advertising spots during its programming. Given its popularity, O’Reilly’s show commands more ad money than any other on the network and is immensely profitable, and an ad exodus extremely threatening to O’Reilly and his employer. Corporate America is speaking to them in the language they understand: money.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.