Bill O'Reilly. Photo via Wikimedia Commons
Bill O’Reilly. Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Southland attorney Lisa Bloom, who represents three women accusing ex-Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly of sexual harassment, said Wednesday O’Reilly’s ouster is a victory for victims who were brave enough to come forward.

And she hopes it will encourage others to do the same.

“This is what happens when women speak our truth — we can slay dragons,” Bloom said. “I am very proud to have stood with my brave clients who stood up for themselves and all the silenced women…. Fox News should have fired him in 2004 when (former Fox News producer) Andrea Mackris spoke out, but at least they did it now,” she said. “They did it because we persisted.”

Bloom announced Wednesday that she was representing a third O’Reilly accuser, Occidental College politics professor and occasional Fox News guest Caroline Heldman, writing on Twitter that “we just called in her report” to the Fox News sexual harassment hotline.

Bloom also represents local radio psychologist Wendy Walsh, who went public with her allegations in early April.

O’Reilly’s ouster was announced by 21st Century Fox in a short statement that read: “After a thorough and careful review of the allegations, the company and Bill O’Reilly have agreed that Bill O’Reilly will not be returning to the Fox News Channel.”

O’Reilly remained defiant, calling it “disheartening” that he was pushed out of the network “due to completely unfounded claims.”

“But it is the unfortunate reality that man in the public eye must live with today,” O’Reilly said. “I will always look back on my time at Fox with great pride in the unprecedented success we achieved and with my deepest gratitude to all my dedicated viewers. I wish only the best for Fox News Channel.”

The New York Times reported earlier this month that the network or O’Reilly had paid $13 million to five women over the past 15 years to settle allegations of misconduct by the conservative commentator.

In a memo to the 21st Century Fox staff, the leadership trio of Rupert Murdoch and his sons, Lachlan and James, praised O’Reilly for being “one of the most accomplished TV personalities in the history of cable news.”

“In fact, his success by any measure is indisputable,” according to the memo. “Fox News has demonstrated again and again the strength of its talent bench. We have full confidence that the network will continue to be a powerhouse in cable news.

Lastly and most importantly, we want to underscore our consistent commitment to fostering a work environment built on the values of truest and respect.”

Bloom said she hopes the O’Reilly case will serve as an example to women who have been similarly victimized but have not come forward.

“Imagine facing your fears, standing up to an abuser, speaking out about sexual harassment,” Bloom wrote on Twitter. “Do the unimaginable. Be brave. Be bold.”

— City News Service

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