The departure of Fox News host Bill O’Reilly over allegations of inappropriate conduct has, predictably, caused a certain amount of exultation from liberal and left-leaning stars and commentators.
Cher tweeted that “O’Reilly and Donald Trump have sexually harassed women 4 years” without providing any concrete examples to back up this claim. Rosie O’Donnell followed suit, calling Trump and O’Reilly “sexual predators of a feather”. (She also failed to expand on this extreme accusation). And Stephen King said Trump and O’Reilly are both “members of the odious boys’ club where members feel they can abuse and humiliate women at will”. Again, he did not produce a shred of evidence.
The question is, where were these sanctimonious voices when members of their own club were accused of what some might judge to be far more inappropriate behavior than the king of cable was? And why have they previously been content to see others who have been accused of alleged crimes and misdemeanors potentially elevated to positions of great authority, or watched them receive the most prestigious of awards?
Let’s start with Bill Clinton. The former President has been accused of sexual misconduct by three women (one, Juanita Broaddrick has claimed he raped her) yet this apparently posed no problem for liberals last year. They would have been happy for the politico to re-enter the White House as First Gentleman, while his long-suffering wife would have been President.
And what about film director Roman Polanski? He was named Best Director at the Oscars in 2002 despite having fled America for Europe in 1978 after being arrested and charged in the US with engaging in unlawful sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl. Harrison Ford accepted the Oscar for Polanski and then presented it to him at the Deauville Film Festival in France five months later in a public ceremony.
Woody Allen has a long and deeply uncomfortable history of allegations against him after his ex-wife, Mia Farrow, claimed he sexually abused their adopted daughter. But, as with Polanski, the liberal establishment was prepared to repeatedly overlook these claims, even giving Allen the Best Screenplay Oscar in 2012 for his film Midnight in Paris.
In 2009, David Letterman was forced to admit he had indulged in extra marital affairs with staff – including those vastly junior to him – who worked on his CBS show. This is not what many would expect of a public figure of some influence, but the liberal media didn’t seem to regard it as a problem.
To this list we shouldn’t forget to add the New York Times, which aggressively pushed its investigation of O’Reilly and on Wednesday exulted in, as its former media editor tweeted, claiming his “scalp”. As Heat Street has previously reported, the Times is facing accusations of racial discrimination and its top dog is dogged by shocking allegations of lying about and covering up the sexual abuse of children.
A civil law suit was launched last year against the paper’s CEO, British former BBC chief Mark Thompson, by two New York Times employees, Ernestine Grant and her colleague Marjorie Walker. They work in its advertising department and have accused their employer of “engaging in deplorable discrimination that has remained largely off the record.”
Papers submitted on their behalf by New York law firm Wigdor LLP explain: “Beginning with the appointment of Defendant Mark Thompson to Chief Executive Officer (“CEO”) in 2012, the workplace at the Times has become an environment rife with discrimination based on age, race, and gender.”
First, they say Thompson’s appointment as Times CEO was “riddled with controversy, given the numerous humiliations and indignities he presided over during his tumultuous tenure as the Director General of the BBC.”
They go on:
“Thompson was involved in a highly publicized BBC scandal regarding a decision to bury an exposé of child sex abuse allegedly committed by one the BBC’s most well-known personalities, Jimmy Savile. Not only was Mr. Thompson seemingly involved in attempting to conceal this important piece of journalism from the public, but he also later lied about his role in the affair, which was demonstrated through an irrefutable recording.”
This recording is cited as a taped interview made in October 2012 by reporter Ben Webster of the London Times. The recording, which Heat Street has heard, was broadcast on UK website Guido Fawkes in March 2013 and circulated widely.
The papers go on:
“Thompson initially denied any awareness of the underlying allegations or of the “Newsnight” cancelation while he was at the BBC. Later, however, reports indicated that he was aware of the “Newsnight” investigation, well before the cancelation. As a result, Mr. Thompson changed his story, acknowledging that he was told about an investigation, but maintained his lack of awareness of any details involving sexual abuse. However, this version of events was then undone by the surfacing of [The London Times’s] audio recording in which he admitted awareness that the investigation involved “sexual abuse of some kind.”
Interestingly, an interview which Thompson gave to the BBC on September 11, 2016 – three weeks after the court papers were filed – dredged up this issue again.
Presenter Andrew Marr asked Thompson about his knowledge of the Savile scandal. And Thompson did not deny – as has been alleged many times, including to a committee of British MPs – that he was told informally about the existence of the Savile investigation in 2011 by his BBC colleague Helen Boaden.
This is what he told Marr:
— Meirion Jones (@MeirionTweets) September 11, 2016
Thompson also discussed this issue at greater length in 2013, as Heat Street has noted.
So what does the liberal establishment have to say about the New York Times chief having been involved (allegedly) in covering up a child abuse scandal? It would be fascinating to hear, but I won’t hold my breath.