Bill O’Reilly’s Fox News career comes to a swift end amid growing sexual harassment claims

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Fox News on Wed finished its association with Bill O’Reilly, the combative TV host and commentator World Health Organization has dominated cable-news ratings for nearly twenty years and was the signature figure within the network’s rise as a strong political player.
The conservative-leaning host’s downfall was swift and steep, set in motion but 3 weeks agone by revelations of a string of harassment complaints against him. The questions about his conduct pictured yet one more black eye to Fox, that had controlled a harassment scandal involving its co-founder and then-chairman Roger Ailes, simply last summer. “After an intensive and careful review of the allegations, the corporate and Bill O’Reilly have in agreement that Bill O’Reilly won’t be returning to the Fox News Channel,” 21st Century Fox, the channel’s parent company, said in a statement Wednesday. The ousted host stood by his earlier denials of the allegations in a statement issued late Wednesday afternoon.
“Over the past 20 years at Fox News, I have been extremely proud to launch and lead one of the most successful news programs in history, which has consistently informed and entertained millions of Americans and significantly contributed to building Fox into the dominant news network in television,” he said. “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. I will always look back on my time at Fox with great pride in the unprecedented success we achieved and with my deepest gratitude to all my dedicated viewers. I wish only the best for Fox News Channel.”
The host of “The O’Reilly Factor” got the news while awaiting a flight back to the U.S. from a vacation in Italy. His representatives said he was “resigned” to his demise, having monitored rapidly deteriorating negotiations over his exit over the past several days. O’Reilly wasn’t directly involved in the discussions with the family of Rupert Murdoch, which controls Fox and 21st Century Fox; his attorney, Fred Newman, conducted the talks.
In the end, Newman couldn’t save his client’s job. individuals near O’Reilly aforementioned publisher and his sons James and Lachlan, World Health Organization head twenty first Century, effectively determined O’Reilly’s fate with very little outside discussion. O’Reilly’s contract–signed simply last month–contains a clause that permits him to be unemployed underneath a set money formula, averting extended negotiations.
The end for O’Reilly was set in motion by a blistering big apple Times investigation in early Apr that exposed that he and Fox had settled 5 allegations of harrassment brought by Fox workers over a 15-year amount. the corporate and O’Reilly paid out $15 million in exchange for his accusers’ silence.
The Murdochs were cognizant of the allegations against O’Reilly once they re-signed their star commentator to a brand new three-year contract that pays him around $18 million a year. In making ready their story, reporters for the big apple Times had sent Fox’s executives a protracted list of queries, inserting senior executives on alert months before of its publication.
But the prospect that his accusers — sure by non-disclosure agreements as a results of their settlements — wouldn’t speak in something however general terms semiconductor diode the corporate to believe it might weather the days story.
In fact, it had been a sixth disputant — a former guest on O’Reilly’s program named Wendy Walsh — World Health Organization might are the key to his unraveling. in contrast to the ladies World Health Organization received settlements for his or her complaints, Walsh ne’er sued or settled with O’Reilly, departure her unengaged to speak publically regarding her allegations. She did therefore repeatedly, putt a reputation, face and voice to the allegations in media accounts.
Shortly after the Times published its story, advertisers began to flee O’Reilly’s program. The boycott kept up as Walsh held press conferences and gave interviews. On Tuesday, another woman came forward, anonymously, to complain that she had been harrassed with racial and sexual comment by O’Reilly in 2008.
The Murdochs ultimately concluded that O’Reilly was vulnerable to further complaints and that the continuing publicity about them would make him untenable in advertisers’ eyes.
In addition to O’Reilly and Ailes, Fox has also lost popular hosts Greta Van Susteren and Megyn Kelly since the turmoil began last summer. The network, however, continued to roll in record ratings, driven in part by viewer interest in Donald Trump, a longtime friend of Ailes, Murdoch and O’Reilly and a frequent interview guest on Fox programs, including “The O’Reilly Factor.”
The loss of O’Reilly, however, is of a different magnitude: “The O’Reilly Factor” has been the network’s flagship show for nearly 20 years, and in many ways has embodied its conservative-oriented spirit.
He still seemed to be at the peak of his popularity and prestige only three weeks ago. His 8 p.m. program, which mixes discussion segments with O’Reilly’s pugnacious commentary, Drew a mean of four million viewers every night throughout the primary 3 months of the year, the foremost ever for a cable-news program. His quality, in turn, helped drive Fox News to record ratings and profits. O’Reilly was additionally the author of 2 books that were at the highest of the bestseller lists in Apr.
O’Reilly had antecedently survived many controversies throughout his twenty one years at Fox, together with a lurid harassment case in 2004 that was fodder for brand spanking new York’s tabloid newspapers. He additionally block a wave of headlines in 2015, once newsmans examined his claims regarding his days as a young reporter and located them to be dubious. All the whereas, O’Reilly’s audience not solely cursed with him, however continuing to grow.
But this point, the extraordinary media coverage close O’Reilly semiconductor diode to a stampede of advertisers faraway from O’Reilly’s program, departure it virtually while not support over the past time period. numerous organizations, together with the National Organization for girls, caught up O’Reilly’s firing, and intermittent protests began outside Fox News’s headquarters in big apple. Morale among workers at the network reportedly was suffering, too.
The Murdochs additionally had over simply O’Reilly’s TV career to consider: The O’Reilly tilt has been casting a shadow over twenty first Century’s $14 billion bid to win country government’s approval to shop for Sky TV, country satellite service. departure O’Reilly in situ would doubtless are a public-relations nightmare for James and Lachlan Murdoch, the sons World Health Organization head twenty first Century Fox, Fox News’s parent.
The Murdoch family abandoned a 2011 supply for Sky amid another scandal, the phone-hacking conspiracy perpetrated by workers of the Murdoch-owned News of the planet tabloid in London. A parliamentary panel later declared Rupert and James Murdoch to be “unfit” to run a public company — an outline they hoped wouldn’t be revived by regulators with the O’Reilly matter hanging over them.