Bill O'Reilly ousted from Fox News amid harassment allegations

Candice Alexander
April 21, 2017

Smith also called for Fox to release all employees from the mandatory arbitration and confidentiality clauses "that for so many years have silenced women and kept the harassers, enablers and retaliators in place".

The downfall of Fox's most popular - and most lucrative - personality began with an April 1 report in The New York Times that five women had been paid a total of $13 million to keep quiet about disturbing encounters with O'Reilly, who continued to deny any wrongdoing in a statement hours after he was sacked.

Long-time Fox News personality Bill O'Reilly has been dumped by the network amid new revelations about lawsuits and cash settlements involving allegations of sexual harassment of women by O'Reilly.

"The real subtext to all this is that Roger Ailes, the founding chairman, the creative drive behind the success of Fox, was forced out last summer for sexual harassment".

His exit will be a far greater blow than the departure of rising star Megyn Kelly.

That certainly could happen, though it probably won't be easy.

That would be Bill O'Reilly, pushed out of Fox News Channel hours earlier.

Fox didn't even wait until he returned from vacation in Europe to deliver the news.

O'Reilly started his career at Fox News in October 1996 with "The O'Reilly Report", eventually renamed as "The O'Reilly Factor" and taking newsmakers to task with his "no spin zone".

With a profit centre gone, 21st Century Fox stock fell nearly 1% on Wednesday in heavy trading.

O'Reilly, who was with the network for 20 years, said he was proud of his time at Fox. Eastern slot by Tucker Carlson, who moved to the channel's prime-time lineup only in January.

Estimates are that "The O'Reilly Factor" pulled in around $140 million in national TV advertising, according to iSpot.tv.

However, some TV executives noted that O'Reilly's audience - largely older white men - might not follow O'Reilly if he opted to make a comeback through an internet venture.

"Bill O'Reilly has been subjected to a brutal campaign of character assassination unprecedented in post-McCarthyist America", Kasowitz said in a statement. Even if there's some disruption in ad rates or spots, he said, there's a "massive backstop" in those payments, which are long-term deals. O'Reilly never addressed the Times report on his show, and none of his colleagues at the network defended him publicly. "Like him or not, a lot of people watched him". Advertisers may have been reluctant to return if there were continuing harassment complaints.

"Paying settlements to cover up O'Reilly's egregious harassment was a cost of doing business as long as it was confidential", said attorney Debra Katz, founding partner at Katz, Marshall & Banks, which handles employment discrimination cases. It's now trying again, although a United Kingdom media regulator must certify that the combined company would be a "fit and proper" owner of the broadcaster.

"I was told the same exact thing".

Representatives at Fox News and its parent Twenty-First Century Fox Inc were not immediately available for comment.

"I understand how hard this has been for many of you", Rupert Murdoch said in a memo to Fox staff.

The Murdochs added, "Lastly, and most importantly, we want to underscore our consistent commitment to fostering a work environment built on the values of trust and respect".

O'Reilly recently signed a new employment contract with Fox, so he likely will be leaving the company with a generous payout.

O'Reilly said in the statement at the time that he had settled only to spare his children from the controversy.

O'Reilly changed the cable news game by putting his point of view and personality ahead of reporting.

Other reports by VgToday

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