In the wake of former TV megastar Bill O’Reilly’s ouster following multiple sexual harassment accusations, Fox News Channel sent out a memo Tuesday ordering everyone – employees, contributors and even freelancers – to attend mandatory sensitivity training “to ensure that we maintain a professional workplace.”
The new sensitivity-training requirement was announced in a memo sent by Fox’s head of human resources, Kevin Lord. It urges employees to register for the one-hour training and finish it “as soon as possible.”
The memo, obtained by TheWrap.com, states:
All Fox News Channel employees, contributors, and freelancers are required to go through a one-time, one-hour sensitivity training session. It is critical that everyone attends to ensure that we maintain a professional workplace.
All trainings will be held in the 1211 Avenue of the Americas 3rd floor Training Room. You will sign in and out in person. We will add more availability for mid to late May, but please attempt to attend your training as soon as possible.
Please use this link below to sign up for your session.
If you have any questions, please reach out to Jordan Knesek at [email redacted].
When news of the Fox News mandatory sensitivity training came out, Matt Drudge of the Drudge Report tweeted a photo of his Fox badge with the message: “It was 1998. I never got ‘sensitivity training’…”
On Monday, The Wrap reported that Fox News’ parent company 21st Century Fox “has yet to have a single company-wide meeting with its staff to discuss the accusations.”
A “senior insider” who asked not to be named told the Wrap: “It’s been radio silence. There’s been no acknowledgement to the staff in person.”
The insider also said: “They’re completely tone-deaf. The culture hasn’t changed since [former Fox Chairman Roger] Ailes left.”
Another Fox News employee told the website “everyone is on guard now” in the newsroom.
As WND reported, O’Reilly spoke out publicly Monday about the sexual harassment accusations that ended his career – vowing that Americans will “be shaken” when they learn the “truth” about the whole affair.
Following a vacation from Fox News from which he never returned to his show, “The O’Reilly Factor,” O’Reilly hosted a podcast and mentioned his dismissal following numerous accusations by women of sexual harassment, charges that hurt the show’s advertising revenue. (Many readers had difficulty accessing O’Reilly’s podcast, as his website appeared to struggle with handling the online traffic.)
O’Reilly spoke only briefly of the scandal Monday, telling his podcast listeners:
I am sad that I’m not on television anymore. I was very surprised how it all turned out. I can’t say a lot, because there’s much stuff going on right now.
But I can tell you that I’m very confident the truth will come out, and when it does, I don’t know if you’re going to be surprised – but I think you’re going to be shaken, as I am. There’s a lot of stuff involved here.
Now, I can’t say any more because I just don’t want to influence the flow of the information. I don’t want the media to take what I say and misconstrue it. However you, as a loyal O’Reilly listener, have a right to know, I think, down the lane what exactly happened. And we are working in that direction, OK?
O’Reilly was forced out after anchoring the network’s flagship show for two decades amid claims by a dozen women of sexual harassment. The complaints range from staring, leering and grunting to inappropriate comments, and, in the case of his ex-wife, choking.
The New York Times reported earlier this month O’Reilly or Fox had paid out some $13 million to settle complaints by five women over the years.
In a statement last week, O’Reilly called the accusations “completely unfounded.” O’Reilly’s complete statement, released Wednesday:
Over the past 20 years at Fox News, I have been extremely proud to launch and lead one of the most successful news programs in history, which has consistently informed and entertained millions of Americans and significantly contributed to building Fox into the dominant news network in television. It is tremendously disheartening that we part ways due to completely unfounded claims. But that is the unfortunate reality many of us in the public eye must live with today. 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 Fox News Channel.
Lisa Bloom, the lawyer for O’Reilly accuser Perquita Burgess, revealed the ultimate goal of going public with her client’s accusations: “The mission was to bring down Bill O’Reilly.”
As WND reported, sources say O’Reilly doesn’t want to leave television and is considering the possibility of doing a show elsewhere – with networks like Glenn Beck’s BlazeTV, One America News and Sinclair Broadcasting among those mentioned.
O’Reilly had recently re-signed a new contract with Fox that will pay him as much as $25 million for cutting him loose.
Over the course of his recent years at Fox, the show averaged 4 million viewers each night, making it the highest rated cable news television show ever.
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