Former cable news giant Bill O’Reilly caused a stir this week when his attendance at a NYPD charity drew objections by #MeToo activists and the National Organization for Women.
The conservative pundit was never convicted of any crimes, but two weeks of pressure by NOW activists prompted the Police Athletic League to buckle.
P.A.L. backed out of the event and said it would not accepted money raised there because of the past sexual harassment allegations against him, which were settled out of court.
“This speaker was distracting and it seemed inconsistent with that goal. It’s not much more complicated that,” Frederick J. Watts, PAL’s ‘s executive director, told The New York Times on Monday.
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Sonia Ossorio, president of the National Organization for Women in New York City, and a commissioner on the city’s Commission for Gender Equity told the newspaper that Mr. O’Reilly should have never been invited.
“It’s grotesque,” Ms. Ossorio said of the idea of him attending the event, which promotes recreational programs for children. “Of course as a role model for positive manhood, few could fail the test as clearly as Bill O’Reilly.”
One P.A.L. board member resigned over the invite, though P.A.L. vice chairman John A. Catsimatidis declined to disclose the person’s name.
“He never pleaded guilty and we still live in America where you’re innocent until proven guilty,” Mr. Catsimatidis told the Times. “Who is paying these people to stir the pot?”
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story said Mr. O’Reilly’s invitation was withdrawn from the event. P.A.L. withdrew from the event.
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