Bill O’Reilly is out at Fox News. Parent company 21st Century Fox issued an official statement Wednesday:
“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,” the company said.
The announcement comes following widespread speculation that Fox News was close to cutting ties with its biggest star in the wake of a multi-million dollar sexual harassment scandal:
Since an April 1 article in the New York Times detailing $13 million in settlements paid to five women, pressure has been growing on Fox News, both internally and from activists, to remove Mr. O’Reilly.
Initially, Fox News and parent company 21st Century Fox stood by their highly-rated host. Mr. O’Reilly has denied any wrongdoing, saying he paid settlements to “put to rest any controversies to spare my children.”
However, as advertisers fled his show, debate inside company ensued over the pros and cons of keeping Mr. O’Reilly on the air. His show draws about 4 million viewers a night, and the controversy didn’t dent his ratings.
According to an internal memo, Fox collaborated with outside counsel in its decision to let O’Reilly go:
“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. Fox News has demonstrated again and again the strength of its talent bench. We have full confidence that the network will continue to be a powerhouse in cable news,” the memo said.