Bill O’Reilly will not return to host The O’Reilly Factor amid accusations of sexual harassment against him, 21st Century Fox has announced.
“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,” 21st Century Fox said in a statement on Wednesday.
O’Reilly released the following statement after the network’s announcement:
“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. 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 New York Times reported earlier this month that O’Reilly and Fox News parent company 21st Century Fox paid a total of $13 million to stop women from speaking out against him or pursuing litigation over sexual harassment.
In the wake of the Times report, two more women have come forward to accuse O’Reilly of harassment — one anonymously. And dozens of companies have pulled their advertisements from his show.
O’Reilly, who has worked for Fox News for 21 years, has denied the harassment claims have merit, and his attorney denounced the accusations as a “brutal campaign of character assassination.”
In the midst of backlash over the allegations, O’Reilly left for a few weeks of vacation, which he said had been scheduled for months. He had been expected to return to his show on April 24. The new Fox News primetime lineup will feature Tucker Carlson Tonight in O’Reilly’s former time slot at 8 p.m., CNN reported.
“This decision follows an extensive review done in collaboration with outside counsel,” 21st Century Fox said in an email to employees, which was obtained by CNN. “By ratings standards, Bill O’Reilly is one of the most accomplished TV personalities in the history of cable news. In fact, his success by any measure is indisputable.”
The situation mirrors the ousting of Fox News CEO Roger Ailes last year after several female employees accused him of sexual harassment.
“Lastly, and most importantly, we want to underscore our consistent commitment to fostering a work environment built on the values of trust and respect,” the 21st Century Fox email said Wednesday.
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