How Social Media Gave Bill O’Reilly the Boot

By: Lauren Gordon | JOUR 4270 | @MissLaurenG

11111Photo Courtesy of Erik McGregor /Pacific Press/ GETTY IMAGES

As decades of sexual harassment claims came to surface many enraged Americans took to social media and the streets to protest the injustice Bill O’Reilly caused. The uproar included a massive rally outside of Fox’s New York headquarters, a plane over Manhattan carrying a banner with #DropOReilly and a colossal conversation across social media platforms.

This led to Fox News firing the infamous conservative anchor of The O’Reilly Factor. Over 60 advertisers pulled funding after the New York Times revealed O’Reilly paid $13 million to five former Fox News personalities to settle claims of sexual and verbal harassment. In conclusion, Fox fired O’Reilly due to loss of advertisers and not the ethics behind the sexual harassment allegations. The controversy resulted in hash tags #DropOReilly, #ByeBillOReilly and #BillOreilly to trend on Twitter.

oreillytweetPhoto Courtesy of Twitter

Some people (including the President of the United States) used #BillOReilly as a sign of support. However, the large majority of users directly urged advertisers to stop supporting Fox and O’Reilly. This is a success story of how a strategic social media campaign can cause change. Although social media did not directly result in the termination of O’Reilly from Fox it did grab the attention of advertisers. This is a particular time in history where consumers can speak directly to corporations. When these many people determine justice they will be answered. At the end of the day, Fox is a corporation and it requires funding to stay on the air.

What’s next for O’Reilly? Only time will tell, but he probably will not stay out of the limelight for long. The end of his career spanning 20 years on Fox should be softened his $25 million severance package by the corporation.

Published by

UNT Eagle Strategies

Class members of the social media class in the Mayborn School of Journalism