Fox News Cuts Ties With Bill O’Reilly After Allegations of Sexual Harassment, Inappropriate Behavior
By Howard Kurtz, Fox News // April 19, 2017
top-rated host in cable news
(FOX NEWS) – Fox News is cutting ties with Bill O’Reilly, the biggest star in its 20-year history, after mounting allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior prompted the network to end his program.
“After a thorough and careful review of the allegations,” parent company 21st Century Fox said in a statement, “the company and Bill O’Reilly have agreed that Bill O’Reilly will not be returning to the Fox News Channel.”
Today’s decision seemed unimaginable a few short weeks ago, given O’Reilly’s long reign as the top-rated host in cable news.
But the climate shifted dramatically after the New York Times reported on April 1 that O’Reilly or Fox had paid $13 million to settle five cases against him alleging sexual or other harassment.
More than 50 advertisers withdrew from his prime-time show, and 21st Century Fox asked a law firm to investigate a complaint from a woman who said O’Reilly dropped efforts to make her a contributor in 2013 after she turned down his invitation to visit his hotel room.
O’Reilly, 67, had not commented on his status since leaving on vacation last week—he met Pope Francis today in a VIP line at the Vatican—but his lawyer issued a blistering statement yesterday accusing his liberal opponents of a “smear campaign.” The statement said O’Reilly “has been subjected to a brutal campaign of character assassination that is unprecedented in post-McCarthyist America,”
O’Reilly’s departure comes nine months after Fox News founder Roger Ailes was forced out as chairman following a sexual harassment lawsuit by former host Gretchen Carlson and allegations by at least a half-dozen women, all of which he denied. One of them was Megyn Kelly, who also clashed with O’Reilly and who decided to leave Fox for NBC last December.
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