Bill O’Reilly and Fox Chose to Deny
Amidst allegations of sexual harassment, Bill O’Reilly has consistently maintained his innocence: “The worst part of my job is being a target for those who would harm me and my employer, the Fox News Channel. Those of us in the arena are constantly at risk, as are our families and children. My primary efforts will continue to be put forth an honest TV program and to protect those close to me.”
The official statement released at Fox denied responsibility as well:
“21st Century Fox takes matters of workplace behavior very seriously. Notwithstanding the fact that no current or former Fox News employee ever took advantage of the 21st Century Fox hotline to raise a concern about Bill O’Reilly, even anonymously, we have looked into these matters over the last few months and discussed them with Mr. O’Reilly. While he denies the merits of these claims, Mr. O’Reilly has resolved those he regarded as his personal responsibility. Mr. O’Reilly is fully committed to supporting our efforts to improve the environment for all of our employees at Fox News.”
Despite the fact that The O’Reilly Factor had been one of Fox’s most popular programs, Fox made the decision to cancel the show, while offering O’Reilly a generous exit package. While some view this decision as a form of corporate social responsibility, it’s important to note that Fox’s decision to cancel The O’Reilly Factor came after over fifty advertisers pulled their ad dollars out of the popular cable television show, citing moral reasons as the basis for their decision.
The lesson: Corporate social responsibility plays a role in making strategic business decisions.
United Airlines CEO, Oscar Munoz, Diminishes the Role of United in Passenger Debacle
After shocking video footage of a United Airlines passenger being forcefully removed from a flight following his refusal to give up his seat went viral, United Airlines found itself in yet another public relations nightmare. The company tried to distance itself from the situation at first, pointing out the fact that a police officer - not a United employee - removed the passenger, thus diminishing the company’s role in the altercation.
The reputation repair strategy began with a statement from Oscar Munoz, United Airlines CEO: “This is an upsetting event to all of us here at United. I apologize for having to re-accommodate these customers. Our team is moving with a sense of urgency to work with the authorities and conduct our own detailed review of what happened. We are also reaching out to this passenger to talk directly to him and further address and resolve this situation.”
This statement was met with even more public outcry, this time about his use of the word “re-accommodate,” which people felt further diminished the seriousness of the event.
The lesson: Be honest and take responsibility for the company’s actions.
Pepsi Decides to Deal