Protesters gathered around Fox News’ headquarters on April 18, 2017, with one clear message to send: Bill O’Reilly needs to go.
1. On April 18, 2017, some pretty damning warnings began circulating outside Fox News’ offices in New York City as a demonstration against Bill O’Reilly began to build.
The demonstration, organized by women’s rights group UltraViolet, is a reaction to an explosive New York Times report from earlier this month in which it was revealed that about $13 million had been paid to five women throughout the years by either 21st Century Fox or O’Reilly to settle lawsuits alleging sexual assault and inappropriate workplace behavior.
O’Reilly has denied wrongdoing. Nevertheless, demands for the host’s firing have reached a fever pitch in recent days.
2. Demonstrators swarmed the cable network’s midtown headquarters with one clear message: Fire Bill O’Reilly.
3. The hashtag #DropOReilly became a rallying cry for both people at the protest and on Twitter to express outrage at the TV host and network.
Many demonstrators were survivors of sexual assault themselves and chose to speak up about how abuse has affected their lives.
4. Even the Women’s March, the group responsible for the global anti-Trump rallies in January, threw its weight behind the protest.
5. “Real men respect women and see them as equal,” one supporter chimed in.
6. As the rally unfolded, an open letter signed by 450 survivors of sexual assault began making waves online.
The open letter, organized by UltraViolet, serves as a petition to 21st Century Fox CEO James Murdoch, asking him to fire O’Reilly.
7. By early afternoon, the sidewalk was jammed with demonstrators.
8. Letitia James, public advocate for the City of New York, joined the chorus of folks demanding O’Reilly be fired, too.
9. And as things tend to do at protests, things got a little heated between demonstrators and some passersby.
10. The big takeaway from the afternoon was that most people really have had enough of O’Reilly getting a pass for his behavior.
11. Like, really — enough.
12. Because if a predator gets away with inexcusable behavior and is protected by his employer, what message does that send — to men and women?
13. Some Twitter users also pointed out that President Donald Trump — who was caught bragging about sexual assault during the 2016 election — has staunchly defended O’Reilly.
Which, to many people, is not a good look on either of them.
14. As the demonstration drew to a close on Tuesday, protesters had literally left their mark outside Fox News’ headquarters.
Their point had been made — loud and clear.
Things likely won’t be getting any easier for O’Reilly and Fox News — and the tide could be turning. Fast.
In lieu of The New York Times’ report and a call to action by alarmed readers, dozens of brands have pulled their advertising from the top-rated cable news show.
As evidenced in a tweet from New York Magazine’s Yashar Ali on April 6, the number of ads shown during the “The O’Reilly Factor” has dwindled significantly. It could turn into a major headache for executives thinking long-term for the network.
Tuesday afternoon, as demonstrators marched outside Fox News, sources close to the Murdoch family revealed the network could very soon be pulling the plug on O’Reilly’s on-air presence.
It’s looking like petitions, hashtags, and some old fashioned protesting may soon do the trick.
Note: This article may be updated as the story develops.