Like all successful men and women in high-profile situations, you’re a sitting duck for allegations of sexual harassment or inappropriate behavior.
It happened to me when I was at NBC. We used to go out for those martini lunches, just the guys. And while wolfing ‘em down, we told ribald jokes. Then one day a female executive asked to join us so naturally we cleaned up our act, but a few days afterward we learned she had sued us and NBC for discrimination. What? She charged we had altered our language in not telling our customary dirty jokes in her presence.
I don’t know if she won her case as I left NBC to start my PR firm TransMedia Group, which incidentally is very good, perhaps one of the best, at crisis management, which is what I want to talk to you about in this open letter.
The fact that you’ve paid out millions in settlements and that you’re the pugnacious face of such a successful prime-time lineup on the #1 cable TV network only adds fuel to the fire, not to mention that you’re often blunt in setting the tone for Trump-loving conservative commentary. All this makes you an even more attractive target.
So what do you do about this? Do you say nothing on your show about it as you did last night while advertisers pull out and your colleagues and staff are anxious over mounting questions about the workplace culture at Fox News and maybe its twisted priorities?
When an outspoken guy like you stays quiet it speaks volumes and loudly that maybe all that’s being said about you is true.
I recommend you step out of your “no spin zone” and deal with it. This is the advice we give to clients who find themselves on the hot seat after a barrage of negative publicity, and yours has hit major newspapers and TV network news. And you say nothing? Not even a terse denial? All you do is post on your website that “prominent and controversial” figures such as you are “vulnerable to lawsuits from individuals.”
That’s it? The indefatigable Bill O’Reilly hiding under a table?
Who in the hell is advising you? Dr. Strangelove? Vladimir Putin? Roger Ailes?
C’mon Bill. Remember the crisis management basics: tell it all, tell it early, tell it yourself and whatever you do, don’t just succinctly post it. Be the awesome communicator you are and deal with it or it will just fester and very possibly bring you down from your now insecure perch on the media mountain top.