Fox announced Wednesday afternoon that Bill O’Reilly is getting the boot.
“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.
The announcement comes after multiple allegations of sexual harassment against O’Reilly surfaced and more than 50 advertisers pulled out from his show. Five women had been paid a total of $13 million to keep their allegations against O’Reilly quiet, according to a report by the New York Times. O’Reilly has denied the allegations and his lawyer called it a “smear campaign” that was “orchestrated by far-left organizations bent on destroying O’Reilly for political and financial reasons.”
In an internal memo sent to all staff at Fox News, leaders of the network Rupert, James and Lachlan Murdoch added a little to Fox’s public statement.
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“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 memo ended.
O’Reilly released his own statement Wednesday, saying it is “disheartening that we part ways due to completely unfounded claims.”
“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,” his statement said.
Former CEO of Fox News Roger Ailes was also ousted in July following allegations of sexual harassment. Ailes’ contract was fully paid out, and O’Reilly recently signed a multiyear contract at $20 million per year.
Lisa Bloom, an attorney for some of the complainants against O’Reilly, issued a “victory statement” Wednesday, saying Fox should have fired O’Reilly years ago but she was glad they did so now.
“This is what happens when women speak our truth: We can slay dragons,” she said.
Bloom’s client and outspoken O’Reilly accuser, Wendy Walsh, came on CNN shortly after the announcement of O’Reilly’s ouster.
“As a woman, and as a mother of daughters entering the workplace, Brooke, I am thrilled that a corporation has made this seismic shift to put women’s rights ahead of their bottom line,” Walsh told CNN’s Brooke Baldwin.
An anonymous black client of Bloom’s came forward Tuesday, saying through Bloom that O’Reilly leered at her and called her “hot chocolate” when she was a clerical worker at the network in 2008.
A major issue that arose as executives discussed terminating O’Reilly was whether he would be allowed to say good-bye to his audience, according to New York Magazine. The statement appears to say that O’Reilly, who is currently on vacation, will not have that chance.
The Times’ report said O’Reilly’s behavior included “verbal abuse, lewd comments, unwanted advances and phone calls in which it sounded as if Mr. O’Reilly was masturbating.” Details in two of the women’s cases were already public knowledge, but the Times’ accumulation of allegations put the network under mounting pressure.
Tucker Carlson will take over the O’Reilly Factor spot, according to NPR. O’Reilly’s show ran for two decades.
Carlson currently has Megyn Kelly’s old 9 p.m. spot on the network after she left for NBC, and it’s unclear who will take that slot now.
Information from the Associated Press was included in this report.