I don't know exactly when - but right around the end of President Obamas first year in office I watched an episode of The Factor - Bill O's show. In that Episode there was a discussion of the economy and how the President had performed - regarding economic policy - in his first year in office.
Two of Fox's beautiful female commentators savaged the Pres. One gave him an F, the other a D-. And Bill said: I disagree, he inherited a huge mess and has mostly averted disaster, I give him a solid B. My reaction was to grade Bill O, as having an A for being fair.
That said, I have read a lot of stuff regarding his behavior off camera. In addition to the harassment stuff he is alleged to have:
Aggressively pressed the church to excommunicate his wife as her second marriage isn't valid. While technically true (because she and Bill never got their marriage annulled it was long and produced two children) the Catholic Church doesn't make a habit of excommunicating parishioners who remarry.
Spent a lot of time and money trying to get his wife's second husband fired from his job as a police detective.
And this last bit - isn't just alleged - it is a matter of fact as determined by family court. During the divorce, Bill and his first wife had a lot of disagreements about custody. A social worker was appointed by the court to be their impartial arbiter. Bill hired that social worker at a six figure salary and she became the kids defacto nanny - without resigning as court appointed arbiter. When the courts discovered this - they promptly replaced her.
Several of the women he harassed tape recorded him. And his recent defense is to claim that his complainants never went to HR. If you would like to get a genuine feel for how HR functions in that 'type' of environment, read the blog by a female Uber engineer. Sure - Fox isn't Uber. But if one considers that the top two guys at Fox - Ailes and Bill O, seem to have set a certain tone - it just doesn't shock me that no one went to HR.
I find it hard to feel sympathy for him regarding the boycott. And don't consider the folks boycotting him to be 'extremists'.
I'd be the last person to defend O'Reilly. I think he's an ass. But the thing is, that's his job. He, and every other talking head on cable news is paid to be a giant hemorrhoid. Sponsors know that, and line up with their advertising dollars anyway. EVERY single one of them will go off the deep end at some point, so why don't we just pre-emptively boycott all of them now and save time?
People know what they're tuning in to. They know these people are megalomaniacs, firebrands, bomb-throwers, and worse. That's why they have TV shows.
And I've yet to see a fundamentalist church moral outrage group, media watchdog, angry mom organization or anything of the like that wasn't extremist. I think we should lock all of the outrageous and the outraged together in a cargo ship and sail them all to Antarctica.
Edit to add: Regarding O'Reilly's personal life---I believe he probably did all of that stuff. I also think Tom Cruise is second in command of a dangerous cult that abuses and defrauds its own members. Yet I don't see people lining up to boycott Mission Impossible movies.