What’s the Sentiment on This Campus About the Bill O’Reilly – Fox News Scandal?

Fox News at 1211 Avenue of the Americas. Picture by Matt Cavanagh

Editor’s Note: Hunter has been recognized as the most ethically and culturally diverse four-year college of the City University New York. WORD reporters were assigned to try and assess how the diversity of opinions of some of the ethical voices on this campus felt about the Billl O’Reilly-Fox News sexual harassment scandal. This is one of those stories.

Article by Matt Cavanagh, May 27, 2017

White students randomly interviewed for this article don’t like Bill O’Reilly.  One, Kathy Roudabaugh, 26, went so far as to say that she wished that he wasn’t the same species as her.The adolescent education major with a concentration in social studies said that O’Reilly was incredibly racist, sexist and ignorant, adding that he “should be ashamed” of his actions.

Interviewed in the third floor sitting area adjacent to the escalators in the West Building, the Clinton Hill resident, who was wearing a tie-dye tank top, black-rimmed glasses, black pants and black and blue sneakers, said that she didn’t believe that O’Reilly respected “anyone different” from him. In reference to the increase in O’Reilly’s ratings when news about the sexual harassment scandals at Fox News came out, Kathy described it as a “train wreck,” saying that “people don’t always want to look away.”  Roudabaugh said that it was “scary to know that this is happening with people on TV” and that it makes her wonder how often issues like this occur in television and other industries.

O’Reilly has been accused of sexual harassment and had “used his clout to seek sexual favors and punish anyone who didn’t acquiesce,” according to a Variety article. O’Reilly has to pay out at least $13 million in settlements to women who accused him of sexual harassment. While denying any guilt, he claimed that he had paid the settlements to “protect his children.” According to an article in The New Yorker,  O’Reilly said that he had “become a target for connivers who are just trying to enrich themselves.”
And according to the article in Variety, even while there were lots of stories about the scandal, Fox News had recently extended O’Reilly’s contract.

In spite of the ratings, and because of the loss of advertisers for The O’Reilly Factor and the allegations of sexual harassment, Fox News changed direction and fired O’Reilly. That decision came months after Fox News cut ties with its founder and CEO Roger Ailes who was accused of sexual harassment.

Nathan Dick, 36, wearing a flannel shirt over a T-shirt, green pants and a hat, said that he found it “interesting” that it took so long for O’Reilly to be fired over sexual harassment allegations, considering that it has been 10 years since he paid off a woman aftera an audio came out supporting her allegations that he sexually harassed her. Sitting on the second floor of the West Building just above the lobby, the Brooklyn resident, who is a non-degree student, said that he recalled seeing O’Reilly on TV when he was younger and didn’t like him even because he was a “know-it-all” and only got worse when he started working for Fox News.

On a similar note, Nicholas Chase, a film major wearing a grey T-shirt, sweatpants, glasses, and a red and sneakers, was glad to see O’Reilly fired. Sitting in the cafeteria on the third floor of the West Building, the Queens resident said that O’Reilly had always “rubbed him the wrong way.”


Matthew Cavanagh can be reached at Matthew.Cavanagh32@myhunter.cuny.edu