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Bill O’Reilly out at Fox News Channel after 20 years

  • FILE - In this April 6, 2016 file photo, Bill O'Reilly attends The Hollywood Reporter's "35 Most Powerful People in Media" celebration in New York. 21st Century Fox issued a statement Wednesday, April 19, 2017, that O'Reilly will not return to Fox News. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP, File) Andy Kropa

  • FILE - In this Oct. 1, 2015 file photo, host Bill O'Reilly of "The O'Reilly Factor" on the Fox News Channel, poses for photos in the set in New York. O'Reilly has lost his job at Fox News Channel following reports that five women had been paid millions of dollars to keep quiet about harassment allegations. 21st Century Fox issued a statement Wednesday that "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. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File) Richard Drew

  • FILE - In this combination photo, Fox News Channel personality Bill O'Reilly appears at The Hollywood Reporter's "35 Most Powerful People in Media" celebration on April 6, 2016, in New York, left, and Pope Francis leaves after celebrating Mass in Piazza Martiri Square, in Carpi, northern Italy, on April 2, 2017. O'Reilly has had a brief handshake with Pope Francis as sexual harassment allegations dog him at home in the U.S. He is on a two-week vacation that on Wednesday took him to Francis’ general audience in St. Peter’s Square. His trip came as Fox News Channel's parent company weighs accusations that a woman’s career was slowed when she spurned O’Reilly’s advances. Dozens of his show's advertisers have fled following reports of harassment settlements paid to other women. O'Reilly has denied wrongdoing. (AP Photo/Andy Kropa, left, Marco Vasini, Files)

  • Posters of Fox News Channel personalities are displayed at the News Corp. headquarters in New York, Wednesday, April 19, 2017. There was no immediate response from Bill O'Reilly's bosses to escalating reports that the Fox News Channel personality will lose his job following accusations he had harassed women. New York magazine said Wednesday that Rupert Murdoch and his sons James and Lachlan, who run Fox parent 21st Century Fox, had decided that O'Reilly was out and executives were planning the exit. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer) Mary Altaffer

  • A pedestrian walks past the News Corp. headquarters building in New York displaying posters featuring Fox News Channel personalities including Bill O'Reilly, right, on Wednesday, April 19, 2017. O'Reilly has lost his job at Fox News Channel following reports that five women had been paid millions of dollars to keep quiet about harassment allegations. 21st Century Fox issued a statement Wednesday that "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. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer) Mary Altaffer

  • A woman walks past the News Corp. headquarters building displaying posters featuring Fox News Channel personalities including Bill O'Reilly, top center, in New York, Wednesday, April 19, 2017. There was no immediate response from Bill O'Reilly's bosses Wednesday, April 19, 2017, to escalating reports that the Fox News Channel personality will lose his job following accusations he had harassed women. New York magazine said that Rupert Murdoch and his sons James and Lachlan, who run Fox parent 21st Century Fox, had decided that O'Reilly was out and executives were planning the exit. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer) Mary Altaffer



Associated Press
Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Bill O’Reilly has lost his job at Fox News Channel following reports that five women had been paid millions of dollars to keep quiet about harassment allegations.

21st Century Fox issued a statement Wednesday that “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.”

He had been scheduled to return from a vacation next Monday. O’Reilly was photographed in Rome shaking Pope Francis’ hand on Wednesday.

It marks a stunning end to a near-perfect marriage between a pugnacious personality and network. For two decades, O’Reilly has ruled the “no spin zone” with cable news’ most popular show, and his ratings had never been higher.

In a memo to Fox staff on Wednesday, the Murdochs said the decision followed an extensive review done in collaboration with an outside counsel.

Fox said that Tucker Carlson’s show would move to 8 p.m. to replace O’Reilly and that the panel talk show The Five would take Carlson’s time slot at 9 p.m.

The fast-moving story took shape with an April 2 report in the New York Times that five women had been paid a total of $13 million to keep quiet about unpleasant encounters with O’Reilly, who has denied any wrongdoing. Dozens of his show’s advertisers fled, even though O’Reilly’s viewership increased. O’Reilly has denied wrongdoing.

Even though at least one of the harassment cases against O’Reilly dated back more than a decade and was widely reported then, the accumulation of cases outlined in the Times damaged him much more extensively. It wasn’t clear when those stories would end, with a group of women demonstrating in front of Fox’s headquarters Tuesday and another woman, a former clerical worker at Fox, calling a harassment hotline and accusing the host of boorish behavior.

“I’m not going away,” said Lisa Bloom, attorney for the latest accuser and another woman who alleges her career stalled because she spurned O’Reilly’s advances. “My phone is ringing off the hook.”

O’Reilly’s attorney, Marc Kasowitz, charged that his client was being subjected to a “brutal campaign of character assassination” and that there is a smear campaign orchestrated by far-left organizations bent on destroying O’Reilly for political and financial reasons.

Conservative personality Glenn Beck – who once lost a job at Fox News Channel because a similar campaign choked his program of paying advertisers – came to O’Reilly’s defense of Wednesday, but it was too late.

“You need to write and call Fox News Channel today and tell them, you can lose your advertisers or you can lose your viewers,” Beck said on his radio show. “But you have to put some spine back into the Murdoch family and the Fox News Channel board because you are about to lose Bill O’Reilly.”

O’Reilly’s fans aren’t likely to be happy about him losing his job, particularly on a controversy set in motion by the Times. His show’s viewership increased the week after the story appeared – O’Reilly didn’t address it on the air — and has sunk since he left for vacation.

Potential successors like Dana Perino, Eric Bolling and Greg Gutfeld have substituted for O’Reilly since he left for vacation.

Vatican spokesman Greg Burke confirmed O’Reilly was in the VIP section for the pope’s Wednesday appearance. Burke, a former Fox News correspondent in Rome, denied having facilitated the tickets. Such tickets can be obtained via special request to the papal household from embassies, high-ranking churchmen or Vatican officials.

Francis always swings by the VIP seats at the end of his audience for a quick round of handshakes. A photographer from the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano snapped a photo of Francis reaching out to shake his hand.