New York City Public Advocate Letitia James led a fiery protest outside the News Corporation building in Midtown Manhattan on Wednesday night to condemn Fox News and high-profile presenter Bill O’Reilly for repeated incidences of sexism and racism.
Speaking through a loudhailer, James led the small crowd of demonstrators in chants of “Take him off!”, in reference to O’Reilly, who The New York Times revealed to have paid out $13 million with Fox News in settlements to five women who have accused him of sexual harassment or inappropriate behavior. O’Reilly continues to anchor the prime time Fox News show, The O’Reilly Factor, which attracted over 3.71 million views in the week beginning April 3.
“Fox News is a place where ratings trump the rights of employees. Fox News is a company that values its bottom line over human dignity and safety, and we are here to demand that this company, where our fellow New Yorkers have been subjected to harassment and abuse, not only hold the perpetrators accountable for their behavior, but change the company culture,” said James.
The rally also heard from Mary Haviland, executive director of the New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault, Katherine Siemionko, chief coordinator for the Women’s March on NYC held in January, and Dr Debbie Almontaser, President of the Muslim Community Network, among others.
“What’s happening here represents a culture, a sad culture, in America of taking women who have the courage to stand up for their rights and shaming them. Well shame back to you. We will not stand for this anymore, women are united,” said Siemionko, referring to Fox News.
This is not the first time Public Advocate James has blasted Fox News and O’Reilly. In October 2016, she joined with New York State Assembly representative Ron Kim (D-Flushing) to protest a segment aired on The O’Reilly Factor earlier that month that Asian-Americans denounced as racist.
The offending segment saw Fox contributor Jesse Watters poking fun at Asian interviewees in Chinatown who struggled with his questions due to language barriers, and for interspersing the interviews with scenes of Watters practicing martial arts over a version of 1974 pop hit “Kung Fu Fighting.”
Photo Credit: Matthew Cohen (CC-BY 2.0)