Kill Bunny

Ok, so the first thing you need to understand about Kill Bill is that everyone is a monster and there are no “good guys” to root for.

‘The mission was to bring down Bill O’Reilly’: The final days of a Fox News superstar
By Manuel Roig-Franzia and Ben Terris, Wasington Post
April 21, 2017

The departure Wednesday of O’Reilly, Fox’s biggest star, caps a bruising 10-month slog during which the network’s all-powerful guiding light and chief executive officer, Roger Ailes, was forced to resign over multiple sexual-misconduct allegations, and some of its biggest names, including anchors Greta Van Susteren and Megyn Kelly, left to join competitors. The melodrama coincides with a generational shift in leadership as Rupert Murdoch’s sons, Lachlan and James, assert more control over a lucrative channel that has played an outsize role in shaping the U.S. political landscape over the past two decades.

O’Reilly has called the claims against him unfounded and Fox has remained a ratings force. Even as the O’Reilly accusations were prompting an advertiser boycott, his show remained atop the list of most-watched cable news programs. Still, the cavalcade of developments dampened morale among rank-and-file staffers, according to current and former Fox employees who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of retribution or because of non-disclosure agreements.

Smith says it is hard for her to imagine a major culture shift at Fox; many key executives she described as “enablers” of Ailes and others remain in top executive positions. A former staffer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, agreed: “Ailes and O’Reilly might be gone, but the rest of the power structure is unchanged.”

What became clear over the past 10 months is that the best way to attack a news company is by making news. Smith said she wrangled with attorneys for Ailes, who wanted to deal with Carlson’s sexual-harassment allegations through a secret, non-public arbitration process. When her client refused and went public with her complaint that Ailes thwarted her career because she would not have sex with him, “that opened the floodgates” for other accusers, Smith said. Within days, numerous women came forward with similar harassment claims. Smith says her firm alone was eventually contacted by nearly 30 women.

“By bringing Fox into the light of day, we’ve been able to show how secrecy hurts all of us,” Smith said.

In her pursuit of O’Reilly, Bloom took a similar tack to the one used by Smith in her case against Ailes, pushing the story into the public realm as much as possible. Bloom — the daughter of famed publicity-savvy attorney Gloria Allred — gained enormous leverage when the Times published its blockbuster April 1 story about the O’Reilly settlements. But she feared that interest would fade.

She needed to keep the buzz going. So she persuaded Wendy Walsh, a Los Angeles radio personality who had been a guest on O’Reilly’s show, to hold a news conference on April 3. There were two goals, Bloom said: Keep the story alive, but also draw out more accusers.

A mediagenic psychologist with her own radio show, Walsh had no intention of suing but did offer a compelling tale. She had made occasional appearances on Fox but said O’Reilly dangled the idea of making her a regular contributor, which would have substantially raised her national profile. After a dinner in Los Angeles, she said, O’Reilly tried to lure her to his hotel room. She rebuffed him, she said, and not long thereafter, her opportunity to become a regular contributor evaporated. (An O’Reilly representative would later call Walsh’s story false.)

On the day the Times story hit, Bloom says, O’Reilly had handed her “a beautiful, gift-wrapped present” in his public statement rebuffing the allegations. The statement said: “Just like other prominent and controversial people, I’m vulnerable to lawsuits from individuals who want me to pay them to avoid negative publicity.” But his statement rested part of his defense on a claim that no one had ever complained about him to the human resources department or called in to an “anonymous hotline.”

It was an “aha” moment for Bloom. After consulting a company handbook she had acquired during a previous case, she determined that Walsh was eligible to call the hotline, even though she was not a full-time employee. Bloom was so excited about the idea that the catchy disco-era song “Hotline” kept running through her head: “Hotline, hotline, callin’ on the hotline.”

Bloom’s staff videotaped Walsh’s call to the hotline, and sent the lengthy recording — which included spates of time when she was left on hold — to Walsh’s tech-savvy nephew. He edited it into a shorter version to share with the media, including the moment when the hotline operator asks Walsh to spell O’Reilly’s name. On April 5, Bloom posted the tape to her Facebook page.

So now an official complaint was on the record, in just the form O’Reilly had deemed legitimate. On April 9, Fox’s parent company announced it was bringing in Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison — the same firm that looked into allegations against Ailes — to examine claims about O’Reilly.

By April 11, as more and more sponsors pulled their ads from the “O’Reilly Factor,” the combative commentator announced his departure for what he called a long-planned vacation in Italy.

According to Bloom, the attorneys brought in by Fox’s parent company seemed to be in a hurry to close the books.

“They were very eager for everything to happen ASAP,” she said. “They were the ones pressing us to go, go, go. By the end, I thought they were looking for a reason to fire him.”

On Tuesday, Bloom sent out a headline-grabbing tweet: “I represent a new woman who just phoned in a complaint of sexual and racial harassment against Bill O’Reilly to the Fox News hotline.”

Bloom booked a flight to New York in hopes of getting big play on the cable news shows. She got it, and O’Reilly’s camp seemed to notice.

That same day, the anchor’s attorney, Marc Kasowitz, issued a statement about the still-cloaked Burgess allegation: “It is outrageous that an allegation from an anonymous person about something that purportedly happened almost a decade ago is being treated as fact, especially where there is obviously an orchestrated campaign by activists and lawyers to destroy Mr. O’Reilly and enrich themselves through publicity-driven donations.”

Have I killed people in that “5 Fingered Palm of Death” kind of way where in six steps you collapse without a mark except your exploded heart? Yes, yes I have.

“I accept your resignation.”

I have plucked people’s last eye and trodden it beneath my feet, stabbed them in the kidneys and twisted until the blood made me grateful I had a good grip on my hilt, shot them between the eyes without sympathy while they florished their swords.

When sharks swim by it’s not professional courtesy.

I’m a monster.

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