The allegations of sexual harassment against Bill O'Reilly show that he is a victim. But he's not a victim of his accusers but his own success. Their accusations show the classic pathologies of man so taken up with his own fame and success and power that he thinks he's invincible. And yet neither he nor his show has paid any price for his peccadillos. His ratings are higher than ever. This is in sharp contrast to how they treated former Fox CEO Roger Ailes when he faced similar accusations last year. Ailes was dismissed in disgrace. Reilly's $18 million contract, on the other hand, has been renewed ahead of schedule.
Clearly, O'Reilly has become too big to fail for those directly responsible for holding him accountable. That's why it might seem right that advertisers are fleeing his show to bring him to heel, I note in my column at The Week. Indeed, they show that markets with their multiple pressure points are better at enforcing basic norms of civilized behavior than the political world where Donald Trump behaved far worse and still got elected leader of the most powerful country on the planet.
That said, the boycott is not unproblematic given that it seems to be a reaction to pressure from women's groups that hate O'Reilly's guts, not companies' acting out of their free will.
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