CNN's Brian Stelter: “Even Bill O'Reilly Is Not Invincible” Against Sexual Harassment Charges

Stelter: O'Reilly Leaving Fox Over Sexual Harassment Allegations Is “The Exact Same Thing” That Happened To Roger Ailes

From the April 19 edition of CNN's CNN Newsroom:

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BROOKE BALDWIN (HOST): This is all over multiple sexual harassment claims, this multimillion dollar settlement that came to light. He's been on vacation, he met with the Pope today. Tell me more about what you know.

BRIAN STELTER: That's right. Let me go back to 2004. Bill O'Reilly was sued in 2004, charges of sexual harassment, by a former producer. He paid money, they settled out of court, it went away, and he stayed on the air. But a lot has changed in 13 years. Corporate America has changed. Our society has changed, and Fox News, now hearing other allegations of harassment from other women, is no longer able to stand by O'Reilly. I think it says a lot about corporate America, about our culture, and also about conservative media. Some of O'Reilly's fans are going to be furious about this, but he has many, many detractors that were wondering if this could ever happen. Three weeks ago, if you and I sat here and said “Bill O'Reilly might be leaving Fox,” we would have laughed at that idea. He was seen as invincible, but even Bill O'Reilly is not invincible. This network now has a decision to make about the 8:00 PM hour, but it's a lot bigger than that, it's about conservative media more broadly. 

I think we should point out one other historical element to this: O'Reilly built up Fox News along with Roger Ailes. Roger Ailes was the founding CEO, and O'Reilly was his biggest star, and for 20 years they built this channel into the powerhouse that it is today. But last summer, Ailes was sued for sexual harassment and then Fox had an internal investigation. Two weeks after the investigation was started, Ailes was forced to resign. The same exact thing has happened here, Brooke. About two weeks ago The New York Times wrote about these settlements involving harassment allegations from women who said O'Reilly had harassed them. He has denied those claims, but, two weeks ago Fox started an investigation. And some women called up and said they too had been harassed, and exactly two weeks to the day, once again, the Murdochs are taking this action.


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