Bill O”Reilly was accused of sexual harassment; calling women at home, making blatant comments, and even trying to engage in phone sex with an employee for years. This is not new.  I don’t know why they finally decided to get rid of him. Maybe 13 million dollars was their line in the sand. Perhaps they had given himBill O'Reilly sexual harassment a 13 million dollar sexual harassment budget.

He continues to deny any guilt. It’s possible Bill O’Reilly and other people like him don’t consider what they are doing harassment, just showing interest, and they can point to some delusional sign that the other person was interested.

I don’t know why the women at Fox recently came forward to talk about Roger Ailes  and the culture of degradation towards women at Fox.

Maybe they were afraid for their jobs, their reputation and loss of income. Some women will also compartmentalize- they put up with the harassment as long as it’s not physical and continue to work alongside of the harasser and even make excuses.

I’ve even heard some people (men and women) try to trivialize incidents of harassment by telling me stories of someone they knew or heard of who had made a bogus claim. I’ve seen examples of bogus claims, however most claims are not.  Despite the claim by some that complaints of sexual harassment are always bogus and women just want money, the reality is that too often complaints of sexual harassment can be career ending for the complainant.

Here’s the reality, people do their best work when they feel safe, and comfortable. They do their best work when they trust the people they work with. If someone tells you to stop talking to them a certain way, stop touching them, asking them out, making sexual innuendos, etc. it doesn’t matter whether you think it’s harassment, or you think you’re just being friendly. Stop the behavior now!  No one has the right to make another person feel uncomfortable, less than, or inferior because of their gender (or any other reason.)

When Bill O’Reilly was told to stop, he did not. He created a hostile work environment for many of the women he worked with. They were not able to do their best work, and ended up leaving.

I wonder how many talented brilliant women were overlooked, left out, or left the organization because the sexist attitudes, behavior and ill-treatment they received because  of their gender. Fox News is a blatant example, but there are many other organizations where women have had or are having similar experiences. Not withstanding potential lawsuits, can your organization afford to lose talented, innovative, accomplished women because they are afraid to speak up, or you’re biased and don’t see what’s happening, or you choose to  trivialize the pain and discomfort?

If you support diversity- go beyond numbers. If you support inclusion-  leave no room for sexism, harassment and objectification. Get woke if you’re not, and if you are, then stay woke.




Simma Lieberman

Author Simma Lieberman

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