Do you know of an illegal act you can commit at work, repeatedly, and be paid millions when it causes you to lose your job?
It’s called sexual harassment, and if you do it at Fox News, they will pay you millions in an exit package — that is, if things are bad enough that they must get rid of you.
The New York Times reported that payouts for sexual harassment at Fox News now total more than $85 million and $65 million of that is in exit packages, “For 21st Century Fox, the network’s parent company, payouts related to sexual harassment allegations at Fox News now total more than $85 million. The vast majority of that — up to $65 million in exit packages — is being paid to the men who were ousted from the network because of the harassment allegations.”
For all of those people who claim women make up sexual harassment charges for the money, note that the majority of the money is going to the perpetrators, not the victims. The exit packages for the perpetrators far exceed all of the other money related to sexual harassment payouts.
$65 million to get men who harass women to kindly leave. Could there be a better incentive to keep harassing women? I’m hard pressed to come up with one.
NOW President Terry O’Neill sent a statement to PoliticusUSA, calling the $25 million going to serial sexual harasser Bill O’Reilly “obscene”.
“Twenty-five million dollars for a sexual predator is obscene. Fox News needs to show Bill O’Reilly the door without a multi-million dollar payday. And that is not all. Roger Ailes’s hand-picked successor Bill Shine must go, and the Murdoch family must install leadership that actually will end the organization’s culture of sexual and racial harassment. Until that happens, no advertiser should waste their money on this troubled network.”
Imagine if Fox News spent $65 to end with sexual harassment instead of rewarding perpetrators.
Sexual harassment is illegal and sometimes the acts it involves are criminal, depending on he local criminal laws where it happens.
Sexual harassment can only continue when there is a culture that rewards, supports and enables it. Currently, sexual harassment is rampant in the media; Fox News certainly doesn’t have the market cornered in scummy behavior. But they do have the market cornered in nurturing a culture in which sexual harassment is rewarded to the tune of $65 million.
Soon men will be lying about sexually harassing women just in the hope of bagging a nice $25 million payout.
This has been defended as due to the “language in their contracts.” Well, exactly. Who drew those contracts up? There are other media companies on par with 21st Century Fox that have this issue covered in their contracts. Fox has no one to blame but themselves if their contracts favor perpetrators of sexual harassment.
Fox News; where they incentivize the ongoing, relentless harassment of women.
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.