Sexual harassment is not going to go away, but Fox News has finally done the decent thing by cutting Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly loose.
These guys are not the first men in power to make women feel cheesy, by holding out the promise of better jobs, better pay — or, at the very least, not getting fired as a quid pro quo for a bit of office canoodling.
It used to be the unwanted hug at the Christmas party that remained a joke among the “guys,” while the women who were single or married and needed the job were told to shut up and just accept it.
The boys’ club had extended from the high school locker room to the fraternity house to the office, and anyone who wasn't a woman being pressured found a way to find it all a big joke.
That is, until it is your daughter in tears or your daughter whose personality is changing. She goes from being bubbly about her job to being quiet or even angry at the least little thing. Or the worst-case scenario is that she falls into the affair with the boss and his wife catches up with it or he tires of her and she loses a job while he gets to stay and move on to the next intern, secretary or anyone else who is at least a little beneath his pay grade.
I am ever hopeful that the leaders of Fox are now assessing their moral compass and their cost/benefit ratio. Millions of dollars spent to hush up something that should not be going on in the first place is a lot of money.
Once the dam breaks, the credibility of the network or office goes off the rails. Mr. Ailes and Mr. O’Reilly will continue to shout “liar” until they have spent all that they can afford to. The network is less likely to bankroll them in this endeavor now, nor should it.
This is true of any man or woman who breaks trust with employees or the nation, if he or she is a government official on either side of the aisle. President Bill Clinton did much the same thing by having an affair with an intern whose life he ruined, along with that of his wife and daughter. Some bridges only mend just so much, and the weakness of the break is never really healed.
The occasion of women being in a position to behave as badly does not present itself as often, because we have so few top jobs, board positions or leadership roles. But the same rules should apply. Using a job or position to gain sexual favors should be a punishable crime, but it is hard to prove unless you start a paper trail and tell others on the QT, because the Clintons and O’Reillys of the world shout loudly about innocence and morality and assume they can outshout the truth, at some point it catches up with you.
Only Mr. Trump is on tape saying what he believes about women and what he has done.
That does not often occur, but if you are thinking that this is all so very unfair to Ailes, O’Reilly or Clinton, I invite you to send your lovely daughter or granddaughter to work in their office, without fanfare — just go and get a job and see how it works out for her.
Should we really gamble with our girls and women like this, or should we have a sense of decency in all work places?
Like the boy who cries wolf, these guys are now having to live with their actual behavior and its consequences. Too bad that Fox did not take this onboard when the pile of women started mounting up. Maybe one day we will value women more than revenue.
Until then, kudos to Fox for finally standing up for women in the workplace.I applaud too late over never. Well done, Fox.
May I suggest that you look at the women in your company and allow them to come to the fore to show the boys how being a broadcaster can be done. Maybe we will have less yelling and more substance. Women are good at that.