BP #10: Boycotting Bill O’Rielly (Kantian ethics)

Source: Democracy Now


The number of advertisers boycotting Bill O’Rielly’s Fox show has increased to at least 53 following an outbreak of women coming forward with claims of sexual harassment and inappropriate sexual behavior by O’Rielly. According to the source, O’Rielly and the network paid out over $13 million to settle the lawsuits of five women. Using the concepts of Kantian ethics, we can decide if the action of boycotting Fox network for the right reasons.

According to Kantian ethics, intentions are everything. An intention is good if it is rational, and if it is done out of respect or duty to the moral law. If an action is motivated by some other inclination or contingent factor besides out of respect for the moral law, it is not a just action. One way to judge if an intention is just, is to test it using the universal law formulation, which tests if the action can be rationally required of everyone. If the action becomes self-defeating, than it fails the test.

Advertisers are boycotting the O’Rielly Factor on Fox news network because of the numerous reports of sexual assault, the networks attempt to cover them up, along with other allegations of racial animus and discrimination, and a hostile work environment. Standing up against these injustices and refusing to work with a person and program which is racist, discriminatory and has committed numerous sexual harassment cases against women is definitely acting from a moral duty.  Despite what the results are, which could be a potential loss of profit for advertisers, their intentions are good. If everyone were to do these actions, it would not be self-defeating.  These advertisers are doing what any rationally thinking person should do.

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