Former MSNBC host Keith Olbermann has two words of advice for his longtime cable news rival, Bill O’Reilly: “fess up.”
Olbermann, who is now a special correspondent at GQ, said the embattled Fox News host’s departure from the network over mounting sexual harassment accusations “seemed inevitable, and in many respects it’s so past the time it should’ve happened.”
“I presume the number of stories we know about is a fraction, could be 5 percent of the number of women who were bothered or even threatened by Bill O’Reilly during their time at Fox,” Olbermann told Yahoo Global News Anchor Katie Couric Wednesday, adding that he personally knows two of the women who’ve accused O’Reilly of harassment.
Fox announced it would be dropping O’Reilly’s show following a series of sexual harassment allegations and a damning New York Times report that the network had paid more than $13 million to settle claims made by five women. Under pressure from activist groups, more than 50 advertisers pulled out of the show despite its consistently high ratings.
“This is demographic,” Olbermann said, referring to the reported divide between Fox News chairman Rupert Murdoch and his sons, Lachlan and James Murdoch, who were reportedly influential in O’Reilly’s departure as well as that of the network’s former CEO, Roger Ailes, following a similar onslaught of sexual harassment claims that became public last summer. “This kind of behavior is no longer tolerated in work environments,” Olbermann added.
Of course, O’Reilly has plenty of defenders, including President Trump, who told the New York Times earlier this month that O’Reilly is “a good person.” “Personally, I think he shouldn’t have settled,” Trump said of O’Reilly.
“These two guys have similar interests, unfortunately, and similar standards for their own conduct,” Olbermann quipped, noting that he can’t recall ever seeing Trump or O’Reilly at Yankee Stadium without the other.
How many Fox News viewers share the president’s sentiment is yet to be seen, but Olbermann is certain that we haven’t seen the last of O’Reilly.
“Somebody will offer him work, I have no doubt about it,” he said. “And I would not be surprised if those conversations have already taken place.”
Though O’Reilly has continued to maintain his innocence — he issued a statement Wednesday decrying the “completely unfounded claims” that resulted in his ouster — Olbermann insisted that it will be even easier for O’Reilly to make a comeback if he confesses.
“Say what you did, apologize for it. If you don’t sincerely mean it, fake the apology, move on,” he advised. “America is really forgiving, particularly if you say you’re sorry.”
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