Women’s group UltraViolet will demand that Fox News fire long-time network anchor Bill O’Reilly at a protest planned for this week in New York outside Fox headquarters, the group announced on Monday.
On Tuesday, April 18th, Ultraviolet will lead the protest with survivors of sexual assault demanding that the network fire O’Reilly in light of recent sexual harassment allegations. The group will also deliver a petition they say has been signed by more than 140,000 people calling for the network to fire O’Reilly. In addition, the group has commissioned a plane to fly around Manhattan with a banner reading “FOX: #DROPOREILLY, THE SEXUAL PREDATOR.”
“Fox News has a problem with sexual assault – and it’s bigger than just Bill O’Reilly,” said Shaunna Thomas, co-founder of UltraViolet. “For years, Fox News executives have provided cover for Bill O’Reilly’s systematic harassment and abuse of other Fox New’s employees – making it hard to take their promises to investigate such crimes seriously. Fox News needs to prove to the public – and its advertisers – that the era of covering up sexual assault is over. That means – firing Bill O’Reilly immediately and conducting a comprehensive and independent investigation into sexual abuse at the network – firing anyone involved in, or complicit in covering up, those crimes.”
O’Reilly has been under fire since a New York Times report surfaced stating that five women had received payments coming to about $13 million in exchange for agreeing not to pursue litigation or speak about accusations related to sexual harassment or inappropriate behavior by O’Reilly. O’Reilly in a statement said his fame had made him a target, but that no complaint about him had ever been made through Fox’s human-resources hotline.
A large number of advertisers have announced their decision to suspend their ties with “The O’Reilly Factor,” including Jenny Craig, GlaxoSmithKline, Mitsubishi Motors, BMW and Ainsworth Pet Nutrition, who have all moved ads slated to run during “Factor” to other Fox News programs. Last week, O’Reilly announced that he was taking a vacation, but that it had been planned long before the recent controversy. He is expected to return to the air on April 24.