Could Bill O’Reilly have done anything to save his sinking ship after a storm of sexual harassment allegations? It’s not surprising that advertisers vanished given both the nature of the complaints brought against him and the loss of his platform at Fox News. But O’Reilly thinks that if he had taken a page from the playbook of another embattled Fox personality, Sean Hannity of the Seth Rich conspiracy theory, he might have saved his advertising base.
In an interview with NewsMax, “I admire Sean, and I admire how he handled situation, because he brought it directly to the folks and the sponsors stopped,” O’Reilly said.
O’Reilly is inspired by Hannity’s recent victory in getting financial services company USAA to reinstate ads on his show after veterans and military families who supported him protested USAA’s decision. USAA was one of several advertisers listed by Media Matters after Hannity wouldn’t let up on the debunked conspiracy theory that the DNC was involved in the murder of staffer Seth Rich.
“Hannity actually fought back. I didn’t. I should have. For reasons that I cannot explain now, I did not,” O’Reilly said.
It’s hard to say if O’Reilly would have had the same luck even if he had put up a fight and rallied his base. After all, peddling a conspiracy theory fixated on the political party you’ve built a career on opposing isn’t quite comparable to multiple lawsuits filed over (alleged) sexually predatory behavior.