Amid a widening sexual harassment scandal that's sparked a mass advertiser boycott, it was reported on Wednesday that longtime cable news host Bill O'Reilly will not be returning to Fox News. A weeks-long public boycott campaign cost O'Reilly's show dozens and dozens of advertisers, and the news has already sparked plenty of reaction on social media, too. For example, feminist and women's groups quickly reacted to O'Reilly's exit, which marked the end of his 20 year-reign at Fox News.
The reason O'Reilly is getting the boot from his position at Fox News is that multiple women have made sexual harassment allegations against him, all of which he has denied. Former O'Reilly on-air guest Wendy Walsh claims he denied her a contributor role because she wouldn't have sex with him, and a former Fox News clerical worker claims she was the target of leering, as well as racist and sexist harassment, from the 67-year-old host.
He's denied the allegations, saying in a statement that he's "vulnerable to lawsuits from individuals who want me to pay them to avoid negative publicity." Also, a recent statement from O'Reilly's attorney took a far more aggressive tact, claiming he's faced with "a brutal campaign of character assassination that is unprecedented in post-McCarthyist America." As you can probably guess, people had some thoughts about all this.
1. What's Actually Amazing
What’s amazing isn’t that Bill O’Reilly may lose his job soon. It’s that he lasted this long. These sorts of accusations aren’t new.— Amanda Terkel (@aterkel) April 19, 2017
Amanda Terkel was reportedly followed and ambushed with a surprise "interview" by O'Reilly producer and regular on-air contributor Jesse Watters in 2009 for reporting on O'Reilly's controversial comments regarding a rape victim. She pointed out that sexual harassment allegations against O'Reilly have been publicly known about for more than a decade.
2. Fox Sent The Message
Glad that by firing Bill O'Reilly Fox sent the message that you're only allowed to sexually harass women five times.— JenAshleyWright (@JenAshleyWright) April 19, 2017
According to the explosive New York Times report that ultimately rattled apart O'Reilly's career, the 67-year-old host settled no fewer than five sexual harassment lawsuits during his 20 years at the channel.
3. You Nasty Women
I'm so proud of every one of you nasty women who stood up to O'Reilly.— Jennifer Hayden (@Scout_Finch) April 19, 2017
As Jennifer Hayden, the senior social media editor for the Daily Kos, highlighted, the phrase "nasty woman" has been a rallying cry for many progressive/Democratic women in the Trump era, after the then-candidate described Hillary Clinton that way during one of their presidential debates.
4. A Pretty Big Deal
I just need to say this again: taking down O'Reilly is a pretty damn big deal. The @womensmarch was only the beginning of the Resistance.— Amy Siskind (@Amy_Siskind) April 19, 2017
Amy Siskind, the co-founder and president of women's advocacy group The New Agenda, clearly had "the Resistance" on her mind when news of O'Reilly's departure broke.
5. Women Took Bill O'Reilly Down
Take note: Women took Bill O'Reilly down.— NARAL (@NARAL) April 19, 2017
Good riddance. https://t.co/FrBFGyvB2d
NARAL Pro-Choice America got in on the act, too, and its not surprising ― reproductive rights are core to women's rights, and O'Reilly had a uniquely bad record on that front.
6. O'Reilly Is Being Fired
Reminder that O'Reilly is being fired for what Trump admitted on audio he does regularly, & that 12 women verified. https://t.co/T403tfADK0— Heather Archuletta (@Pillownaut) April 19, 2017
Remember that infamous Access Hollywood tape of Trump during the election? Billy Bush got fired, sure, but Trump's campaign marched on, denying any allegations of misconduct. And now, despite it all, he's the most powerful person on Earth.
7. He Was Held Accountable
Fox knew about Bill O'Reilly's behavior towards women for 15 years. He was held accountable by good journalism + women-led activism ✌️— Emma Gray (@emmaladyrose) April 19, 2017
As HuffPost Women executive editor Emma Gray noted, O'Reilly's downfall was the result both of tireless activism and thorough reporting by women, as well as groups and organizations like Sleeping Giants, which took direct aim at his advertisers to accomplish what once seemed impossible.
8. Let's Stop Pretending
Let's stop pretending that Bill O'Reilly is getting fired because Fox cares about women, shall we? pic.twitter.com/PjH01a9s8s— Amanda Pope (@mandahaley) April 19, 2017
Given that his multi-million-dollar settlement with former producer Andrea Mackris was public knowledge in 2004, it seems clear that Fox News wasn't exactly eager to cut ties with its ratings-grabbing host.
9. You Did It
Women's rights group UltraViolet actually held a protest outside Fox News headquarters in Manhattan on Wednesday to call for O'Reilly's firing, which turned out to be pretty excellent timing.
10. RIP To O'Reilly's Career
RIP to O'Reilly's career. He sure had a gift for making me sweat angrily over dumb nonsense— Olivia Messer (@OliviaMesser) April 19, 2017
Olivia Messer of the Daily Beast gave O'Reilly's career a send-off that so many people can probably relate with: He was sure good at pumping "nonsense" into the forefront of people's minds.
11. Free To Become President
As damaging as the O'Reilly scandal has been to his career, he still hasn't publicly faced as many allegations as President Trump did during his campaign, as was pointed out by Lauren Wolfe, director of the Women Under Siege project from the Women's Media Center. Also, there's no publicly released video of O'Reilly bragging about doing such things, while the president is on the record.
12. The Collective Power
The Women's March organization, which pulled off that incredibly dramatic, massive protest just one day after the Trump inauguration, weighed in on the news with some enthusiasm of its own.
13. Bye O'Reilly
Actor Nia Long kept it short and sweet, with a "bye" for O'Reilly and a "thank you" for Fox News. The latter makes her a lot more generous than many have been ― for a lot of people, the only response to the channel is "What took you so long?"
The National Organization for Women, which called for O'Reilly's firing in early April, didn't waste time with an overly wordy reply. To the contrary, "welp" pretty much says it all.
15. It's Official
Feminist author and columnist Jessica Valenti went the GIF route in response to O'Reilly getting the boot, usually a solid move in a sudden moment of shared recognition on social media.
16. Slaying Is The Family Business
Gloria Allred repped Weiner, Cosby, and Trump accusers. Daughter Lisa Bloom took down Bill O'Reilly. Slaying is the family business.— Charlotte Alter (@CharlotteAlter) April 19, 2017
As Time's Charlotte Alter noted, the attorney for at least two of O'Reilly's accusers is Lisa Bloom, the daughter of high-profile attorney Gloria Allred. Seems like it runs in the family, huh?
17. O'Reilly Kept His Job
Also: O'Reilly kept his job for more than a decade after a $9 million payout against him for harassment. And 9 mos after Ailes was canned.— Cathleen Decker (@cathleendecker) April 19, 2017
As Los Angeles Times political columnist Cathleen Decker points out, O'Reilly stuck at Fox News for a staggering 13 years after his 2004 multi-million-dollar settlement with Mackris.
18. When You're Glad O'Reilly Is Gone
When you're glad O'Reilly is gone but remember that Tucker Carlson gets the time slot and Fox News still exists and Trump is still president pic.twitter.com/JTUE9kcf8Y— Jenavieve Hatch (@jenavievehatch) April 19, 2017
According to Fox News, longtime conservative commentator Tucker Carlson will be sliding into O'Reilly's time slot -- something associate women's editor for the Huffington Post Jenavieve Hatch is less than pleased about.
19. Let's Not Forget People Organized
in cheering downfall of O'Reilly let's not forget people organized to make it happen, campaigns targeting advertisers by @ColorOfChange etc— Sarah Jaffe (@sarahljaffe) April 19, 2017
There's a lot of credit to go around, no doubt, but Sarah Jaffe, a fellow at the Nation Institute, wants you to keep all those political organizers and progressive advocacy groups in mind.
20. Ding, Dong!
Ding dong! Big, dumb, bigot witch Bill O'Reilly is dead! Also, tons of women are still being harassed, and many are too scared to speak out.— Lauren Duca (@laurenduca) April 19, 2017
The ever-sharp Lauren Duca of Teen Vogue wants you to remember that celebrations aside, O'Reilly or no O'Reilly, many women are still scared and threatened against speaking out about harassment.
21. Maybe I'm Being Greedy
Maybe I'm being greedy, but I hope O'Reilly getting let go becomes a cool trend where people who commit sexual assault lose their jobs.— Alison Leiby (@AlisonLeiby) April 19, 2017
That would be a pretty cool trend, wouldn't it?
22. We Slayed The Dragon
When women speak our truth the old order shatters.— Lisa Bloom (@LisaBloom) April 19, 2017
We slayed the dragon.
Never forget this is what we're capable ofhttps://t.co/d2cxkPGyBP
Bloom took a victory lap on social media, hailing the power that women manifested in raising awareness about O'Reilly and forcing his ousting. She followed it up with a tweet containing her official statement on the matter.
23. Here Is My Victory Statement
Those last two tweets are from Bloom, the attorney who represents Walsh, as well as this week's new accuser whose name is not publicly known. She has continued to suggest that she's received more phone calls alleging sexual harassment within Fox News, including a tweet claiming her phone was "ringing off the hook," and that she'd be representing further accusers for free.
In short, after 20 years on the air and a reported $13 million paid out in legal settlements over that time, the O'Reilly era has come to an end. And feminists, progressives, and activists are feeling gratified.