If there is anything positive resulting from the disgusting Harvey Weinstein affair, it’s that perhaps the impunity of deviants like him will no longer be tolerated. Women have become emboldened to discuss their experiences and hold violators accountable. The problem will not go away overnight, but this is a necessary, if painful, first step.
Unfortunately, some of the outrage generated by Weinstein is selectively applied. While his career and company are likely over, there are other known abusers still operating in places of power. Including in the White House, where Donald Trump’s admitted crimes have not cost him his privileged position. Part of the reason that Trump gets away with it is that he has supporters at a powerful media outlet who excuse his sexual misconduct. Fox News has fiercely defended the President despite the evidence, and his own confessions.
The irony of that, of course, is that Fox News is guilty of the same repulsive behavior. At the top of the list was their former CEO Roger Ailes, His termination was followed by that of their biggest star, Bill O’Reilly. It has since been discovered that O’Reilly paid $32 million to settle a case of sexual harassment and abuse. And a few weeks later Fox News, with knowledge of the settlement, renewed his contract. There were other victims who were also paid millions prior to this. So the message from Fox News is that they have no problem with employees who commit sexual crimes. You have to wonder how the women at the network feel about that.
However, you don’t have to wonder how O’Reilly feels. He has been thoroughly unrepentant. In fact, he has furiously attacked his accusers despite his having paid many of them to buy their silence. His adamant denials fly in the face of the facts. Even the response by Fox News, who saw the evidence and chose to fire him, speaks to his guilt. But that didn’t stop him from going into a white hot rage when the subject came up in an interview with the New York Times (video below):
“We have physical proof that this is bullshit. Bullshit. OK? So it’s on if you want to destroy my children further. Alright? Cause it’s all crap. Why don’t you be human beings for once? This is horrible.”
“It’s horrible what I went through. Horrible what my family went through. This is crap and you know it. It’s politically and financially motivated. And we can prove it with shocking information.”
Where to begin? Let’s start with O’Reilly’s claim that he has “physical proof that this is bullshit.” If that’s true, then what is he waiting for? Why doesn’t he produce it and clear his name? The only thing that he’s put forward are photos his attorney posted of thank you notes from Megyn Kelly, who has disclosed that she was among his victims. Of course, those notes mean nothing. Abused women are often reluctant to rock the boat. They fear disclosing the circumstances of their abuse due to the prospect of retaliation, shaming, etc. And they have seen their abusers get off scot free while they suffer personally and professionally.
As for O’Reilly’s concern about his children being “destroyed,” that’s a peculiar line of defense. Particularly considering that O’Reilly recently lost a custody battle for his children that included charges of battery against his ex-wife that was witnessed by his young daughter. The children both petitioned the court to live with their mother.
Finally, O’Reilly despicably tries to turn this into a pity party with himself as the victim. Poor Bill. It must have been so horrible for him to be called out for his abhorrent and predatory perversion. And all because he has mysterious, unnamed financial and political enemies determined to destroy the valiant culture warrior.
The only thing this latest audio rant proves is that Bill O’Reilly is an unstable and unremorseful monster. He thinks he’s entitled to hurt anyone he wants to advance his own interests. It’s an acute form of malignant narcissism that has him convinced of his superiority and the irrelevance of others. Remind you of anyone?
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) October 23, 2017