They say not to speak ill of the dead. So instead, let’s speak the truth. Roger Ailes was a media titan. He was a master of cable news, understood how to dominate the 24-hour cycle and knew where to point the camera lens to grow a network and engage viewers.
However, his success relied on fear and intimidation, both behind and in front of the camera.
This ultimately brought about his resignation from Fox News, just over a year ago.
As head of the network, Ailes utilized the same tactics of fear and intimidation he used to drive the news cycle, and directed it at the many bright young women who walked the halls of Fox News.
Last year, over 16 women came forward with sexual harassment allegations against the network head.
Gretchen Carlson, a longtime presence on Fox News, filed a lawsuit on July of 2016, accusing Ailes of numerous counts of sexual harassment.
In the lawsuit, the anchor claimed that Ailes refused to renew her contract if she did not agree to sleep with him.
The Fox News parent company settled the lawsuit for $20 million, and Ailes was forced out of the network.
Few people have done more to hurt this country than Roger Ailes. He vilified minorities, degraded women, and destroyed so many families.
— Jared Yates Sexton (@JYSexton) May 18, 2017
Ailes, of course, is not a lone wolf. While in April the company affirmed a zero-tolerance policy towards anyone who “disrespects women or contributes to an uncomfortable work environment,” the accumulation of cover-ups over the years tells a different story.
More recent, allegations have toppled the Fox money-maker Bill O’Reilly, who once hosted the most watched cable news show nationwide.
According to the New York Times, O’Reillyand Fox News hadto make payments totaling $13 million to five different women who brought forth sexual assault allegations.
The past few months saw activists taking to the streets to demand his resignation, resulting in numerous advertisers pulling out of The O’Reilly Factor, previously a prime marketing spot. On April 19, O’Reilly was officially let go.
— Women's March (@womensmarch) April 19, 2017
With Ailes’ passing and O’Reilly’s ousting, where does this leave us? Do the recent removals of these men from their positions of power mean the fight is over? Can we pack our bags, call it a victory, and declare feminism over?
We should, of course, celebrate this incredible victory.
Both Ailes and O’Reilly were fixtures of the cable news cycle, powerful men who few would have the nerve to go after (just remember O’Reilly’s infamous “we’ll do it live” gaff).
Yet, there is still so much more to be done.
We may think that the removal of Ailes marks the end of an era. With the successful ousting of O’Reilly, it is all too easy to become complacent.
While these heinous men are gone, there are still others lurking behind payoffs and cover-ups.
For all the aspiring female reporters out there- conservative, liberal, or anywhere in between, now is your time. Your lives and careers are not defined by these men. The tides are beginning to change. I mean hey, we just got “Wonder Woman”. It’s time to venture out into “No-Man’s Land.”