Women might want to think twice before working for Bill O’Reilly. According to Gabriel Sherman’s new book, The Loudest Voice in the Room, the top Fox News anchor grew so enraged at a female producer after a botched segment in 2003 that, in order to defuse the situation, “a senior Fox executive” intervened and escorted the crying producer out of News Corp’s Midtown headquarters.
“After one taping, he stormed toward his staff’s cubicles and tore into a young female producer, whom he blamed for botching a segment,” Sherman writes in Loudest Voice, which until today had been under a strict press embargo. “Staffers watched in shock as O’Reilly, easily a foot taller than the woman, started yelling and slamming his fist down on a shelf.”
“He got really close and in her face,” an onlooker told Sherman; “She was scared he was going to hit her,” said another. (The name of the producer is not revealed.)
Eventually O’Reilly vanished, after which “a senior Fox executive was called in and escorted the woman, in tears, out of the building to calm her down.” The famously vindictive anchor never apologized.
Sherman says the incident came on the heels of O’Reilly’s surging ratings during the build-up to the Iraq War. His rising stature within the right-wing network apparently created an environment where the anchor acted out against his own staffers with relative impunity. The most famous byproduct of O’Reilly’s toxic studio became public in 2004 when another female O’Reilly producer, Andrea Mackris, revealed that her boss had sexually harassed her in the early aughts—in one instance, by offering to pleasure her with a falafel—and threatened to destroy her if she ever told anyone about it.