Ding, dong, the grand wizard is gone.
Sadly, the baby grand wizard is already on deck.
After much speculation over Bill O’Reilly’s fate at Fox News in the wake of numerous allegations of sexual harassment leveled against him sparking an advertiser mass exodus, the network announced Wednesday that The O’Reilly Factor would be canceled. In its announcement, Fox said, “After a thorough and careful review of the allegations, the company and Bill O’Reilly have agreed that Bill O’Reilly will not be returning to the Fox News Channel.”
O’Reilly released his own statement, though if one were expecting acts of contrition from the conservative media juggernaut, they know little about Bill O’Reilly.
The statement reads:
Over the past 20 years at Fox News, I have been extremely proud to launch and lead one of the most successful news programs in history. ... It is tremendously disheartening that we part ways due to completely unfounded claims. But that is the unfortunate reality many of us in the public eye must live with today. I will always look back on my time at Fox with great pride in the unprecedented success we achieved and with my deepest gratitude to all my dedicated viewers. I wish only the best for Fox News Channel.
O’Reilly’s attorney, Marc E. Kasowitz, saw that sass and told his client to hold his bag while he upped the antagonistic ante:
Bill O’Reilly has been subjected to a brutal campaign of character assassination that is unprecedented in post-McCarthyist America. This law firm has uncovered evidence that the smear campaign is being orchestrated by far-left organizations bent on destroying O’Reilly for political and financial reasons. That evidence will be put forth shortly and it is irrefutable.
The “irrefutable” evidence Kasowitz speaks of will likely arrive around the same time President Tropicana Jong-il releases his tax returns, Rachel Dolezal gets honored by Khia at the Soul Train Awards, and Jesus swag-surfs back to earth solely to get Suge Knight out of jail.
For the women who said they were wrongly harassed by this man in the workplace and who deserved better than the payouts used to silence them in order for Fox to protect its predatory investment, this is a deserving victory. More will be inspired to share their stories of sexual harassment, thanks to these women who decided to speak up. Meanwhile, there’s a delicious irony in discovering that a man who routinely lectured to black people about their moral failures is alleged to be a serial sexual harasser—one who likes coining nicknames like “hot chocolate” for his black victims, at that.
To wit, in 2002, O’Reilly successfully led efforts to get Pepsi to drop an ad featuring Ludacris. Now, 15 years later, O’Reilly is being booted from his No. 1 show while Ludacris is starring in the No. 1 movie in the country. Yes, this is the perfect time to start rapping along to “Move Bitch.”
Unfortunately, O’Reilly’s firing still feels a bit bittersweet. For one, his now former employer has long known about his accused habits. Fox News had been settling cases for years, so they didn’t ax him because he was a predator so much as because he became a liability. O’Reilly’s ratings were on the rise as the scandal grew; they dropped when he went on vacation, and there is already talk that Fox News’ ratings could drop as much as 25 percent without O’Reilly. If the advertisers hadn’t fled, O’Reilly would still be on the air—to more viewers.
O’Reilly has been the greatest star of the conservative-media complex that orbits largely around Fox News. That industry is built majorly around playing to the prejudices of its audience—notably with respect to racism. O’Reilly has been casually misogynistic for decades, but he often spewed his harshest rhetoric toward black people.
O’Reilly has been spewing racist rhetoric in defense of the “white establishment” for decades. O’Reilly has condemned black women, men and children in the harshest of ways, but none of that had ever been a problem. And sadly, his replacement will be bringing similar issues with him to the same hour.
Like O’Reilly, Tucker Carlson is racist and likes to play to the racist fears of his conservative viewership. Like O’Reilly, Carlson loves to belittle women. One great example of this came during an on-air appearance that Carlson did with Teen Vogue writer Lauren Duca. Or the time he described Hillary Clinton’s face as “castrating.” Or the time he argued that 15-year-boys dream of being sexually harassed by their female teachers. Or that time he claimed women were too “sensible” to get involved in politics. Or, better yet, the time he claimed that sexual harassment happens only in private.
Bill O’Reilly can fall dick first into the fieriest pit in hell, but he’s being replaced by the kind of person whose sexist views help create the Bill O’Reillys of the world. And Carlson is as racist as O’Reilly. So, as much amusement as there is in watching the decimation of Bill O’Reilly, it’s already tiring contemplating that the end result is a younger face being given the chance to sell the same old strains of hatred to the little monsters watching at home.
But, not to be a complete pessimist, I will join Maxine Waters at the Bill O’Reilly-got-fired party, where she most surely is leading the Electric Slide.