Powerful men, with organizations tending to cover things up, are a recipe for disaster.
The explosive controversy surrounding Bill O'Reilly has captured the attention of global news networks, and his sudden departure has sparked conversation about harassment, bullying, and organizational response. Last night, I watched Fox News briefly mention O’Reilly at the beginning of his former time slot, and then quickly move to other topics. This was in sharp contrast to almost every other major news network, which ran the story as a main focus of conversation on TV and online outlets.
The attempt to subdue the conversation actually just displayed a palpable disconnect.
There are many lessons Fox needs to learn from this situation, and certainly O’Reilly has a lot to learn as well. But I'm wondering something different. I want to know, what can the Church learn from this debacle?
1. The way we respond to an accusation teaches people how we value others.
Many leaders have publicly dismissed these accusations against Bill O’Reilly as a smear campaign without knowing the facts. Dismissal like this has almost become a default in some organizations, especially in the case of sexual misconduct.
Yes, I know (and am glad) we live in a society where legally people are presumed innocent until proven guilty. But when leaders respond to allegations of sexual harassment and bullying with automatic defensiveness, doubt, and dismissal, that teaches people who have been hurt how much you value them. To put it bluntly, it teaches them they won’t be believed.
The reality is that all legitimate allegations need to be investigated. Our heart response should be a genuine pursuit and desire for the truth. I'm not here to weigh in on the validity of the accusations, but I do affirm that your response is the …