Thank women for O'Reilly's downfall

Bill O'Reilly is out at Fox News
Bill O'Reilly is out at Fox News


    Bill O'Reilly is out at Fox News


Bill O'Reilly is out at Fox News 01:15

Story highlights

  • Bill O'Reilly's show has been canceled on Fox News after a wave of harassment allegations
  • Issac Bailey: His female accusers are to thank for his downfall, but women need male allies to fight workplace sexism

Issac Bailey has been a journalist in South Carolina for two decades and was most recently the primary columnist for The Sun News in Myrtle Beach. He was a 2014 Harvard University Nieman fellow. Follow him on Twitter: @ijbailey. The views expressed are his own.

(CNN)Bill O'Reilly's brand of machismo may have earned him millions of dollars and millions of fans, but it couldn't save his career.

His two-decade reign as the host of what was routinely the highest rated show on cable television has ended because women, like so many times before, did the work men should have done long ago. These women, who had allegedly been sexually harassed by O'Reilly, led, and everyone else followed.
Issac Bailey
They came forth and finally sunk "the most powerful name in news," all the while knowing they could be publicly targeted by O'Reilly, those who worship him and those who refuse to believe that women still face sexism in the workplace.
    But it shouldn't have taken this long, and it should never happen again. Unfortunately, without male allies advocating for a safer work environment, these women with whom Fox settled will not be the last victims to allege sexual harassment.
    Now let us be clear. These women showed more strength than the University of Minnesota football players who were more concerned about their teammates' ability to play in a championship game than making sure a gang rape allegation was fully investigated.
    They showed more mettle than the men and women who excused Donald Trump's behavior, including making him the leader of the free world after he was caught on video bragging about casually sexually assaulting women.
    They were tougher than all O'Reilly's apparent enablers inside the Fox empire, including the men who recently signed the talk show host to another multiyear, multimillion-dollar deal despite being aware of the many allegations that had been made public in recent years.
    These women found a way to stand tall in the face of the ugly name-calling that women who speak out often must endure.
    And what about the men? With the exception of some of the advertisers who withdrew from O'Reilly's show, we largely stood on the sidelines, afraid to get in the game.
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    We haven't done enough to police predatory men who use their power to abuse their female employees. If such men aren't afraid of the women who count on them for career advancement, they must be made to fear the other men in their orbit.
    And this isn't just a case of conservative men protecting a conservative blowhard. Liberal men spent years rallying around Bill Clinton despite his treatment of women.
    It's been a display of male bipartisan cowardice. Until that changes, a culture that breeds and encourages sexual harassment and sexism won't die.
    A lot of women are stepping forward, and men need to follow their lead.