The idea that Fox News could weather scandal after sexual scandal without ever having to deal with the consequences has never been particularly convincing. The news division lies at the heart of Rupert Murdoch’s vast media empire. It is the economic powerhouse that drives his entire business.
The bias, the lies, the sensationalism. They have been getting away with that for years.
They probably would have carried on with it ad infinitum.
But that was just bad journalism. The way Fox news has been treating its female employees is something else entirely. Something that might just break the back of America’s most popular (editor’s note: We hate it too, but facts are facts) news channel.
To be clear, sexual harassment in the workplace never really went away.
According to a 2015 survey, one in three women between the ages of 18-34 has been sexually harassed at work. What’s worse, is that even when complaints are made, less than half of them result in charges being filed. Nor is this an issue restricted to the U.S. Indeed, according to the United Nations:
“Between 40 and 50% of women in European Union countries experience unwanted sexual advancements, physical contact or other forms of sexual harassment at their workplace”.
What differentiates Fox News from the average workplace then is not that harassment occurs. It’s that it occurs in such an overt and egregious fashion. It’s that the organization is run by men in their 70’s who are acting like the 1970’s never went away. Indeed, the sense of permissive harassment at Fox was so pervasive that Gretchen Carlson felt the need to secretly record meetings with then Fox News CEO Roger Ailes.
That Which Ailes you
Fox dumped Ailes on July 21, 2016 after a seemingly endless cascade of sexual harassment allegations caught up with, and then overwhelmed, the 76-year-old self-imagined Lothario. And Ailes — who had allegedly demanded oral sex from girls as young as 16 — was not the only senior member of the Fox news team to get the chop.
Star host Bill O’Reilly was fired from the network last month after an article by The New York Times on April 1 revealed how Fox stood by his lecherous activities. They continued to support him in the wake of Ailes’ humiliating climb down. They had his back even as they were forced to reach settlements with women he harassed to the tune of $13 million.
He’s not been heard of since. According to one source, he was last seen sitting at a bar complaining of loose stools.
This latest revelation trumps them all though.
According to the Daily Kos, Fox‘s reaction to harassment claims was to simply slut shame the woman making the allegations.
Indeed, as Salon reported:
“Bo Dietl, a private investigator who is currently a candidate for mayor in New York City, admitted in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that he was hired to spy on female Fox News Channel employees who had alleged sexual harassment in an attempt to discredit their allegations.”
They went on to note that:
“A former city police detective, Dietl told the Journal that his firm was retained to investigate the backgrounds of two female Fox News employees, Gretchen Carlson and Andrea Mackris, who had initiated legal proceedings against network heavyweights. In 2004 Mackris sued onetime Fox News star Bill O’Reilly for serial sexual harassment. Carlson sued the network’s then-CEO Roger Ailes in 2016 on similar grounds. Both men denied the charges but the two women were given multimillion-dollar settlements.”
Such behavior might come as no surprise to those familiar with the network.
It has long been little more than a cut-price playboy mansion for men too repugnant to attract women the old-fashioned way.
Still, the revelations speak volumes about the nature of the company itself. Far from suffering from the bad intentions of a few rotten apples, Fox seems to have gone out of its way to protect the integrity of members of staff who had ably demonstrated that they had none. Faced with allegations from multiple sources they chose a predictable path in attempting to lay blame on the victim rather than the perpetrator.
Only it backfired.
In the 21st century a woman’s past sexual conduct is nobody’s business but her own. An unwanted advance is an unwanted advance. And in the case of such harassment occurring in the workplace, there are consequences attached to such actions.
Just ask Bill.
Watch Megyn Kelly Discuss Harassment At Fox News:
Featured image from YouTube video.