21st Century Fox, the parent company of Fox News Channel came under intense pressure recently after The New York Times published an article on sexual harassment claims against Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, before ultimately making the decision to force the O’Reilly Factor host out of Fox News.
The claims revealed that 21st Century Fox stood by O’Reilly even after five women accused him of some variation of sexual harassment, resulting in settlements from the company roughly totaling $13 million. This resulted in a social media uproar, along with 50 advertisers pulling out from under the prime-time show. 21st Century Fox then hired an independent law firm and a launched an investigation into some of the unsubstantiated claims, before releasing this statement yesterday, “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 Fox News Channel.”
O’Reilly was disheartened over the news, releasing his own statement on the sudden departure, “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.”
However unimaginable it seems that Fox News would get rid of their top-rated host, the Murdoch brothers (owners of 21st Century Fox) want “to change the company’s culture and make clear that harassment is unacceptable,” Fox News says.
The news of O’Reilly’s departure comes nine months following the firing of Roger Ailes, founder of Fox News. Gretchen Carlson, a former host pursued a sexual harassment lawsuit, leading to allegations from other women, all of which Ailes denied. Megyn Kelly later revealed she too was sexually harassed by Ailes, and recently left Fox News for NBC last December.
The ‘undisputed king of cable news’ O’Reilly hosted his show The O’Reilly Factor on Fox News from 1996 to 2017, championing as the number one cable news show for several consecutive quarters at a time, in the millions of viewers. The show often saw O’Reilly discussing political issues and subjects of controversy with a number of guests appearing throughout the years.
Fox News has already decided on replacements to fill the O’Reilly Factor‘s former time slot, “Starting Monday, Fox will air Tucker Carlson’s show an hour earlier, in O’Reilly’s 8 p.m. ET slot, and move the popular ensemble show “The Five” from 5 to 9 p.m. On May 1, “Five” member Eric Bolling will debut a one-hour program at 5 p.m., and Martha MacCallum will make her “First 100 Days” show permanent at 7 p.m.”