Will Fox News See a Female Viewer Backlash?

After even more harassment allegations, it’s not out of the question.

I confess that I struggle like an inept cultural anthropologist to understand the mindset of the typical Fox News viewer, but I wonder if there will be a difference in how the male and female fans of that network react to the revelations that the female bombshells Fox employs were treated as nothing more than sex toys by Roger Ailes, Bill O’Reilly, and senior management.

For many of the men, I imagine this doesn’t overly disturb them. It may even titillate them, as they imagine themselves having that kind of power over beautiful women. I just can’t shake the suspicion, however, that female viewers will find this is as a very disturbing betrayal.

The latest news on this front is coming from a lawsuit filed by Andrea Tantaros. Ms. Tantaros makes a variety of sensational allegations, including some damaging accusations against O’Reilly, actor Dean Cain, former Senator Scott Brown, and Fox News executive Bill Shine.

Cain and Brown touched Tantaros inappropriately on the set, and in the case of Sen. Brown, a promise not to book him in the future was broken. O’Reilly crudely propositioned her and stopped booking her on his show after he was turned down. Mr. Shine advised Tantoros that Roger Ailes is a very powerful man and that she should drop any complaints about his sexual harassment. She alleges that she was forced out of the network shortly after raising questions with Shine. And, of course, Shine retained his position and was promoted when Ailes left the network in disgrace.

The complaint goes into a lot of detail about what it’s like for an attractive woman to interact with Roger Ailes. For example, Ailes made the following comments, allegedly, in a single conversation with Tantaros:

rogerailesangelatantoros

I imagine that list there is causing some consternation at Fox headquarters today, but I’m more interested in how it makes women who watch Fox feel about what they’ve been seeing on the air all these years, and how they might feel about watching Fox in the future.

As for Bill O’Reilly, he seems to have come through the falafel incident fairly well, but sometimes these things reach a tipping point. Will he see a dip in his ratings?

Martin Longman

Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly and the main blogger at Booman Tribune.