Former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly and his attorneys debated whether to share an email with his bosses at 21st Century Fox in the hours before he was fired from the company, according to a story from Politico.
The email that O’Reilly and his lawyers discussed was from Mary Pat Bonner, a Democratic Party fundraiser connected with the watchdog group Media Matters. The email described an “advertiser education campaign” aimed at companies that purchased ads during O’Reilly’s show to cancel their sponsorships.
The email, which was shared with Politico, referred to two upcoming conference calls with Media Matters president Angelo Carusone to discuss "the success of the campaign so far, and our plans moving forward." The email that Politico received did not include the recipients' names, and it was not clear how O’Reilly’s attorneys came into its possession, though the campaign was not a secret.
Media Matters released this statement from Angelo Carusone:
“Fox News was forced to act. They had years to address serial sexual harassment at Fox News. They didn’t; they actually enabled it. So individuals and groups took action to educate advertisers. Advertisers fled because they immediately recognized what Fox News has ignored for over a decade: that serial sexual harassment is not only wrong but bad for business.
"Without advertisers, Bill O’Reilly’s show was no longer commercially viable. Fox News had no choice but to fire O’Reilly. Accountability came from the outside, not from within. Fox News deserves no accolades, only scorn for the industrial scale harassment they have forced their employees to endure.”
According to the story, O’Reilly and his attorneys intended to point to the email as proof that there was a coordinated move to get him fired, and that the effort was a conspiracy based on unfounded allegations of sexual harassment.
"If we show to Fox tomorrow, word will get out and the Thursday call may be canceled," O'Reilly wrote Tuesday in an email exchange with his attorney.