- - Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Here’s the latest tale from the seedy world of Fox News personality Bill O’Reilly, which broke late Tuesday.

“Another woman is telling Fox News her story of harassment at the hands of O’Reilly,” writes The Hollywood Reporter.

“Bill O’Reilly used to leer at an African-American Fox News clerical worker and called her ‘hot chocolate,’ according to attorney Lisa Bloom, who helped the woman report the harassment to the network’s hotline. The woman worked for a different broadcaster in 2008 while this was going on, but ‘The O’Reilly Factor’ host’s office was near her desk,” the magazine wrote.

According to the woman’s attorney, Mr. O’Reilly “would never talk to her, not even hello, except to grunt at her like a wild boar. He would leer at her. He would always do this when no one else was around and she was scared.”

Now, maybe that’s a one off. Maybe this accuser is a gold digger targeting a high-profile personality to make a little scratch. That happens. Oh wait, she’s not.

“The new O’Reilly accuser who I represent is not asking for money, just accountability,” Ms. Bloom tweeted.

With Mr. O’Reilly, so many shoes have dropped that he’s looking like Imelda Marcos. Just two weeks ago, The New York Times reported that Fox paid out $13 million to five women who accused the bombastic bloviator of sexual harassment. Mr. O’Reilly told The Times that he settled only to avoid hurting his family.

Well, that isn’t what an innocent man would do. Accuse me of sexual harassment and we’re going all the way to the Supreme Court if we have to. I’m not paying a dime ‘cuz I’m not guilty. Only guilty people pay out “settlements,” which are better known by this term: “hush money.”

Internet provocateur Matt Drudge sees the end coming.

“O’Reilly has had tremendous run. Very few in the business get to decide when and how things end. Media is most brutal of all industries,” Mr. Drudge tweeted out minutes after the “hot chocolate” story hit the web.

Well, Billy isn’t exactly deciding “when and how things end,” although he can’t be surprised — after his despicable actions — when the hammer comes down.

Fox News is mired in sex of late. Former CEO Roger Ailes resigned amid a flurry of sordid accusations. The network paid former Miss America Gretchen Carlson $20 million in hush money — I mean, to keep Mr. Ailes from “hurting his family.” Accusations have mounted that women were treated like sex objects throughout the network — fired for not acquiescing to Mr. Ailes or Mr. O’Reilly, ordered to dress sexier, and worse.

The saddest thing is that some women no doubt fell prey to the two predators. You don’t keep asking women to your hotel room, like Mr. O’Reilly is accused of having done repeatedly, if it doesn’t work every so often. Those women are likely far too ashamed to come forward now, and that’s sad. They, too, are victims.

Mr. O’Reilly, who took a sudden “vacation” (possibly to keep from “hurting his family”), is nowhere to be seen. And he won’t be seen, ever again. Although his contract was recently upped to $20 million per year, the network is said to be eager to cut its losses and go an entirely new direction without the cantankerous, and rancorous, blowhard.

Now, I’ve never seen one second of his show. The last thing I want to do while relaxing in the evening is to listen to some ultracrepidarian spout his meaningless nonsense — yelling at guests and rudely interrupting experts in their field. Who has time for a bullying gasbag? Life’s just too short.

Still, he brought in millions for the network, and millions of people tuned in. Fox News would have preferred to sweep the whole matter under the rug and keep the ad dollars pouring in. That’s why they paid off victims of the two predators. In media, like in politics, the end often justifies the means.

But nothing could save Mr. Ailes when the story reached critical mass, and nothing can save Mr. O’Reilly now. Where there’s smoke there is always fire — no fire, no smoke. He won’t even be saved by President Trump (who isn’t the greatest character witness himself, having once been caught on tape saying he likes to “grab ‘em by the p—-y”).

“I think he’s a person I know well — he is a good person,” Mr. Trump told The New York Times two weeks ago. “I think he shouldn’t have settled; personally, I think he shouldn’t have settled. Because you should have taken it all the way. I don’t think Bill did anything wrong.”

But that’s what innocent people do. Guilty people try to cover up their crimes — and rich ones sometimes get away with it.

Not this time. Mr. O’Reilly is about to disappear once and for all. And to that we say good riddance to bad rubbish.

Joseph Curl has covered politics for 25 years, including 12 years as White House correspondent at The Washington Times. He also ran the Drudge Report as morning editor for four years. He can be reached at josephcurl@gmail.com and on Twitter via@josephcurl.

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