An email from a Democratic Party operative may have been Bill O’Reilly’s last play to save his job at Fox News amid a growing sexual-harassment scandal.
O’Reilly and his representatives circulated an email from a democratic fundraiser who supported the liberal-leaning watchdog, Media Matters.
Politico reported that the email announced some upcoming conference calls set for this week in which people associated with Media Matters would discuss its efforts to get advertisers to abandon O’Reilly’s Fox News program, “The O’Reilly Factor.”
The so-called “Stop O’Reilly” campaign was well-publicised on social media, with the help of Media Matters president Angelo Carusone, who famously spearheaded similar grassroots efforts that targeted former Fox News host, Glenn Beck.
By all appearances, the so-called “advertiser education campaign” against O’Reilly worked.
Dozens of companies — including Mercedes-Benz and the pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline — fled O’Reilly’s program as headlines spread across the internet and airwaves, detailing millions of dollars in settlements between the disgraced cable-news host and multiple women who accused him of sexual harassment.
According to Politico, O’Reilly saw Media Matters’ effort as a politically motivated, “left-wing plot” to get him fired, but he stopped short of bringing that email to the attention of 21st Century Fox executives. According to Politico’s Joe Pompeo who saw an April 18 email exchange between O’Reilly and his representatives, O’Reilly is said to have wrote, “If we show to Fox tomorrow, word will get out and the Thursday call may be cancelled.”
It does not appear that the move would have stopped the headwinds O’Reilly was facing. A new accuser stepped forward with harassment accusations the same day, and there were rumblings that James and Lachlan Murdoch — top executives at 21st Century Fox — were already angling to get O’Reilly out of the picture.
In the email, O’Reilly himself had apparently also run out of patience with Fox News Channel, the network he had called home for 20 years: “You all should know that I will not put up with much more from FNC,” he wrote.