An online petition demands that Fox News clean house by firing star host Bill O’Reilly due to claims that he harassed former anchor Andrea Tantaros.
The petition, started by feminist site UltraViolet, also wants the cable channel’s parent company, 21st Century Fox, to ax Bill Shine, recently appointed network co-president. Shine enabled a hostile environment toward women during the reign of former Chairman Roger Ailes, according to Tantaros’ lawsuit against the network.
The petition says Fox’s ouster of Ailes in July didn’t go far enough, because Shine and O’Reilly remain employed.
“Clearly, Fox isn’t done putting women in danger,” the petition says.
Tantaros’ lawsuit, filed in August, says Ailes repeatedly commented about her body and made unwelcome advances. The suit targets other Fox News executives, including Shine, whom Tantaros claims told her to drop her complaints about Ailes.
O’Reilly isn’t a defendant in the lawsuit, but Tantaros accuses him of inappropriate behavior. He asked her to come to his “very private” place on Long Island and said he hoped to see her “as a wild girl,” the lawsuit says.
“Having a harassment-free environment is a basic right,” said Karin Roland, UltraViolet chief campaign officer. “Sexual harassment was clearly rampant.”
As of Monday, more than 36,000 people had signed the petition. The signatures will be sent to Fox News later this week, Roland said.
Fox News attorneys, meanwhile, on Monday sought to have Tantaros’ lawsuit decided by arbitration, Vanity Fair reported.
At least 20 women, including popular host Megyn Kelly, have reportedly described degrading conduct at Rupert Murdoch’s prized cable news channel to company investigators. The revelations started after former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson sued Ailes for harassment in July.
The long-running “O’Reilly Factor” is one of the most widely watched cable news programs. The show brought in 2.9 million to 3.2 million viewers during each of four episodes that aired from Aug. 15 to Aug. 21, according to Nielsen ratings. In 2004, O’Reilly settled a lawsuit with an associate producer who accused him of harassment.
Tantaros had co-hosted “Outnumbered,” but stopped appearing on Fox News in April. The network claimed she’d violated her contract by not getting approval to work on a book.
The network “operates like a sex-fueled Playboy Mansion-like cult, steeped in intimidation, indecency, and misogyny,” according to Tantaros lawsuit.
A Fox News spokeswoman didn’t respond to HuffPost’s requests for comment on the petition.