Lesson for those who disrespect decency

  • Bill O’Reilly (Photograph by Richard Drew/AP)

    Bill O’Reilly (Photograph by Richard Drew/AP)

The recent fall from grace by one of America’s most celebrated news hosts on a major television news station was far more than just another incident where women have endured demeaning and indecent comments by men who consider themselves above having to answer to anyone over how they treat women.

These people often also resent being questioned on antics that display utter contempt for the rights of women in the workplace.

Fox News, seen by many as a mouthpiece for President Trump during his campaign to capture the White House, fired television giant Bill O’Reilly after trying to ride out numerous reports and allegations of sexual harassment from a number of women who appeared on his show, or had contact with him via employment, at the cable network.

The allegations were of such significance that leading sponsors of O’Reilly’s show found they could no longer have their brand name linked with someone involved with sexual harassment towards women, and consequently pulled their support. For Fox News, that meant the bottom line would dictate that Reilly, no matter how popular, was no longer an asset. Although Reilly and his legal team took issue with the allegations, claiming it amounted to an attempt to destroy his career with unfounded claims, the situation turned darker when it was disclosed that millions of dollars had been paid by Fox News to keep the harassment scandal off the public radar, even though there have been reports of incidents involving inappropriate conduct by O’Reilly going back well more than a decade.

If true, that could only mean that Fox News executives were aware of issues all along, but with millions of dollars rolling in, they chose to look the other way.

However, sooner or later, there is that final straw and it came when a number of women decided enough was enough, and took the bold step of getting their stories of harassment from O’Reilly out in the open, without fear of consequences.

Perhaps the biggest part of this story is not so much that a top-flight news host became his own headline when the company could no longer stomach mounting criticism, but that women decided to stand up for what they deserve: decency and respect.

In recent years, a number of men in powerful positions in business operations, and also in the world of sports, have been removed from office for committing acts that violated codes of decency, that often left a trail of victims with lifetime emotional and physical damage. These are serious problems that occur in countries around the world, and in many cases women who complain about mistreatment by a superior, are dismissed, or treated even worse.

In other words, many had no voice in a world where some men felt powerful enough to treat women as though they were just ornaments of play. One would think they never had a mother. Even the man holding the most powerful office in the world has been known to make comments that degraded and insulted women, which still bothers many people globally.

The bottom line is that many women in America have taken the fall of Bill O’Reilly as their cue to openly call for respect and protection for women throughout the workplace, since many have suffered in the shadows of despair and humiliation in order to remain employed. That is totally unacceptable and must change.

The best thing that can come out of the O’Reilly scandal, is that companies take a hard look at their internal structure for treating women employees with the greatest respect, and that any infringement would not be swept under the carpet to protect an employee or the company image.

It should be pointed out that there are decent well-respected top male executives in many business operations, who have standards of respect and decency, and conduct themselves accordingly.

However the harsh reality is that too many men in positions of power act as though they never had a mother. The world should be well past that stage. We can only hope something positive occurs that will empower women with the right to demand equal respect in the workplace no matter who is in charge.

This story is not about celebrating anyone’s downfall, but it is about the rise of women seeking justice and respect as equal citizens of the world.

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Published Apr 22, 2017 at 8:00 am (Updated Apr 21, 2017 at 11:33 pm)

Lesson for those who disrespect decency

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