1 Yesterday’s ethics bombshell was the news that Fox News extended its contract with star bloviator Bill O’Reilly earlier this year, knowing that he had agreed to a $32 million settlement with a woman who accused him of repeated harassment, a non-consensual sexual relationship, and other offenses. Nonetheless, it decided it decided to sign him a four-year, $25 million a year, contract extension. The New York Times scoop reported that Rupert Murdoch and his sons, decided that it was worth it to keep O’Reilly even as Fox News was trying to recover after having to fire Roger Ailes for multiple sexual harassment claims. Fox added to the O’Reilly’s extension a clause that allowed for his dismissal if new allegations of harassment or other relevant information came out regarding the previous accusations.
Boy, am I glad that I didn’t lift my personal Fox New boycott after O’Reilly left.
This is unconscionable conduct by Fox, equal in its slimy ethics void to what the Weinstein Group did when it acknowledged its founders sexual predator proclivities in his contract. Fox News, by keeping O’Reilly knowing that he had harassed its employees (and worse),
- demonstrated to its staff that it cared more about ratings and profits than principles and the safety of its female employees and guests
- sent the message that if you were a big enough cheese at Fox you can get away with abusing women
- proved that the sick and sexist culture nurtured by Roger Ailes from the beginning was still flourishing.
Ugh. But I can’t say I’m surprised. [Mr Kimble (Alvy Moore) on Green Acres: ” I can’t say I’m surprised. Actually, I can say I’m surprised. I’m surprised! But I’m not surprised.”]
How many other companies tolerate sexual harassers in their executive offices outside of Hollywood? A lot.
O’Reilly, demonstrating again that he is a liar as well as as a sexual predator, absolutely denies that he ever harassed anyone. He needs better lawyers, then. Harvey Weinstein paid off an actress he raped for just $100,000, and poor Bill had to fork over 32 million bucks for something he didn’t do!
2. This morning’s “Wait—WHAT?” ethics headline is this one, from the ABA News: “Lawyer who blamed ethics case on mother can’t discharge $500K in student debt, federal judge rules.”
Illinois lawyer Donald Rosen argued that his three-year license suspension for misappropriating over $85,000 in client funds made it impossible to find appropriate work and so should be allowed to discharge his $500,000 student debt. (How did he end up with a $500,000 student debt?). ‘Uh, no,’ ruled U.S. District Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer, perhaps because Rosen had paid only about $11,000 in student debt over the previous 37 years.
Why did Rosen blame Mom? He claims his 82-year-old mother, who worked at his firm, inadvertently used client funds to pay business expenses. Rosen said his mother was embarrassed by her actions and falsified bank statements to cover it up. Then, Rosen says, he innocently provided those fake bank statements to police and the hearing board considering the ethics case against him.
3. How can this happen? Why is it happening? Who defends this? How long will it continue? Continue reading