Multiple sexual harassment lawsuits and $13 million in settlements later, Fox News has evidently decided that veteran prime time anchor Bill O’Reilly is no longer worth the trouble. On Wednesday afternoon, the right-leaning network announced that it was parting ways with its 8 p.m. host.
A face-saving statement from 21st Century Fox framed the breakup as mutual, but multiple news outlets have indicated that O’Reilly was shoved rather than jumping of his own volition. His exit comes in the wake of several lawsuits alleging that he had spent years sexually harassing his female colleagues at the network. As the charges piled up — and the network spent millions of dollars settling them out of court —O’Reilly’s nightly program turned toxic to advertisers, who fled in droves.
By early this month, dozens of advertisers had pulled off The O’Reilly Factor, leaving hole in the program — both financial and temporal — that seemed impossible to fill. Not long after that, the host went on “vacation.” His impromptu hiatus was marred by a protest in front of Fox News headquarters, during which activists delivered 480,000 petitions demanding he be booted off the network.
And now O’Reilly has been put out to pasture by the 21st Century Fox proprietors inside the Murdoch family — a fate he shares with onetime Fox News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes, who departed the network in July under a similar cloud of sexual harassment allegations.
O’Reilly’s loafers will be filled by Tucker Carlson.
UPDATE: O’Reilly put out the following statement, calling the firing “disheartening” and insisting that the sexual harassment allegations against him are “unfounded”:
NEW: STATEMENT FROM O'REILLY pic.twitter.com/IuWMhEYFGK
— Steve Kopack (@SteveKopack) April 19, 2017