After weeks of embarrassing press for Fox News, the company has cut ties with Bill O’Reilly.
The move to oust the host of the top-rated show “The O’Reilly Factor” comes following The New York Times’ April 1 story that revealed O’Reilly and his parent company, 21st Century Fox, had settled five sexual-harassment allegations for roughly $13 million.
For weeks, as many as 50 advertisers pulled their dollars from the show, and several groups called on the company to fire the host, who left the show last week for a temporary, planned vacation. O’Reilly was photographed this week meeting Pope Francis.
The only thing the company said about its decision was this terse statement delivered by 21st Century Fox:
After a thorough and careful review of the allegations, the company and Bill O’Reilly have agreed that Bill O’Reilly will not be returning to the Fox News Channel.
O’Reilly spent 21 years with the Fox News Chanel, and many are speculating that a legal battle could loom over the money owed as part of a multi-year contract he signed.
On Wednesday, O’Reilly doubled down on his previous denial to allegations against him with the following statement:
It is tremendously disheartening that we part ways due to completely unfounded claims. But that is the unfortunate reality many of us in the public eye must live with today.
News Corp Chairman Rupert Murdoch wrote in an internal memo that the decision was made after “an extensive review done in collaboration with outside counsel.”
In the memo, Murdoch called O’Reilly “one of the most accomplished TV personalities in the history of cable news,” adding that the company wished “to underscore our consistent commitment to fostering a work environment built on the values of trust and respect.”
The company announced that Tucker Carlson will take over O’Reilly’s slot at 8 p.m. Eastern time.