News broke last week that Fox News would no longer employ Bill O’Reilly.

The statement from 20th Century Fox simply offered that the company would be cutting ties with the cable news host.

What was left out of the statement was the reason. What’s clear is that it had little to do with the sexual harassment claims levied against him and much more to do with the backlash against Fox’s lack of action in response to those accusations.

If O’Reilly being relieved of his position with Fox had anything to do with Fox wanting to separate themselves from someone with multiple accusations of sexual harassment filed against them, they would have separated from O’Reilly long ago.

According to a story by The New York Times, Fox and O’Reilly paid about $13 million to five women for agreeing not to pursue litigation or speak about accusations against O’Reilly.

For Fox, $13 million was a small price to pay to keep their top-rated TV host, who generated nearly $450 million in revenue from 2014-16, on air and unblemished.

But once word got out that not only was there alleged harassment, but that Fox was working to keep things covered up, the backlash started.

Pushback came in many forms, but one was pulled sponsorships on O’Reilly’s show, with more than 50 advertisers saying “no thanks.” That hit to the wallet made Fox cut ties with O’Reilly — not any kind of moral stance that some might hope the company would take.

We shouldn’t be surprised. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen this from Fox. Former CEO Roger Ailes had similar claims of sexual harassment dating from 1960-1989, but only when those claims became public in 2016 did the company do anything about it.

Of course, this isn’t something unique to Fox News.

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas was famously accused of sexual harassment by Anita Hill during his confirmation hearings but given a lifetime seat on the court nonetheless.

Former President Bill Clinton also faced a long string of accusations for both sexual assault and harassment with no real repercussions, as has current President Donald Trump, who was part of the now infamous “locker room talk” tape that led to the firing of Billy Bush from NBC’s Today.

Politicians in Tennessee have also not dealt well with sexual harassment. Former state Rep. Mark Lovell was accused of having inappropriate sexual contact with a woman while serving in the Tennessee General Assembly, but the investigation into his actions was stopped when he resigned.

State Rep. Jeremy Durham was expelled from the Tennessee House in September after allegations of his own sexual misconduct dating back to at least 2013. The vote to expel Durham was 70-2. Two people deemed Durham’s conduct acceptable enough that he should remain in a position of political influence in the state.

To be clear, Bill O’Reilly is a problem. There is no place for his actions in any work place. But he isn’t the only problem.

Until we as a nation start taking sexual harassment seriously — no matter who is at fault — there will be other men like O’Reilly. The only way to do anything about that, as Fox taught us, is to hit them in the wallet.

Jonathan Herrmann is news editor of the News-Herald. He can be contacted at 865-986-6581 or