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Bill O’Reilly Out At Fox News Channel

After a series of new allegations regarding sexual harassment and a rather highly effective campaign to get advertisers to boycott his show, Fox News Channel has parted ways with Bill O’Reilly, the top-rated host on cable news:

Bill O’Reilly has been forced out of his position as a prime-time host on Fox News, the company said on Wednesday, after the disclosure of multiple settlements involving sexual harassment allegations against him. His ouster brings an abrupt and embarrassing end to his two-decade reign as one of the most popular and influential commentators in television.

“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, Fox News’s parent company, said in a statement.

Mr. O’Reilly’s departure comes two and a half weeks after an investigation by The New York Times revealed how Fox News and 21st Century Fox had repeatedly stood by Mr. O’Reilly even as sexual harassment allegations piled up against him. The Times found that the company and Mr. O’Reilly reached settlements with five women who had complained about sexual harassment or other inappropriate behavior by him. The agreements totaled about $13 million.

Since then, more than 50 advertisers had abandoned his show, and women’s rights groups called for his ouster. Inside the company, women expressed outrage and questioned whether top executives were serious about maintaining a culture based on “trust and respect,” as they had promised last summer when another sexual harassment scandal forced the ouster of Fox News’s chairman, Roger Ailes.

That put pressure on 21st Century Fox and the Murdoch family that controlled it. After the dismissal of Mr. Ailes, the company struck two settlements involving sexual harassment complaints against Mr. O’Reilly and also extended his contract, even as it was aware of the complaints about his behavior.

Last week, the Murdochs enlisted the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison to conduct an investigation into Mr. O’Reilly’s behavior after one woman, who had detailed her allegations against Mr. O’Reilly to The Times, called the company’s hotline to report her complaints. Another complaint was reported on Tuesday, according to the lawyer who represents the woman making the allegations.

Mr. O’Reilly has denied the allegations against him.

This news comes less than a year after Fox News was faced with the scandal involving sexual harassment allegations, as well as a lawsuit filed by former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson that was ultimately settled for $20,000,000, against Roger Ailes that ultimately led to his ouster from the company by the time triumvirate of Murdoch’s that decided to part ways with O’Reilly this week. As with Ailes, the decision to part ways with O’Reilly is big news not only because the host has been with the network literally since the day it launched on October 7, 1996, when O’Reilly hosted a show called The O’Reilly Report that was eventually renamed The O’Reilly Factor. Before long, O’Reilly’s audience grew along with Fox News Channel’s to the point where O’Reilly was, bar none, the most watched host of any regularly scheduled program on any of the three cable news networks. O’Reilly’s status at the network was second only to Ailes himself, and his salary only increased each time it came up for renewal notwithstanding criticism that the network often faced for the content of some of his monologs or the manner in which her frequently treated guests who disagreed with him. Over the years, though, there were also allegations of improper conduct on O’Reilly’s part toward women and rumors of under-the-table settlement payments by O’Reilly or the network to women who complained of the way that the host acted toward female guests and co-workers. Once the allegations against Ailes came out, though, it seemed as though the floodgates had opened. Several more women came forward to allege improper behavior on O’Reilly’s part, including threats of professional retribution toward women who refused his sexual advances in much the same manner that Ailes apparently acted during his tenure at the network. Just yesterday, a seventh woman came forward to allege that she had been sexually

Over the years, though, there were also allegations of improper conduct on O’Reilly’s part toward women and rumors of under-the-table settlement payments by O’Reilly or the network to women who complained of the way that the host acted toward female guests and co-workers. Once the allegations against Ailes came out, though, it seemed as though the floodgates had opened. Several more women came forward to allege improper behavior on O’Reilly’s part, including threats of professional retribution toward women who refused his sexual advances in much the same manner that Ailes apparently acted during his tenure at the network. Just yesterday, a seventh woman came forward to allege that she had been sexually harassed by O’Reilly while working at Fox News. Before that, there had been rumors that Rupert Murdoch, the head parent company News Corporation, and his two sons were looking for options to part ways with the host, rumors that came just before O’Reilly signed off on his show for the last time a week and a half ago before what was claimed to be a pre-planned vacation. Apparently, the Murdoch’s used the opportunity of O’Reilly’s absence to force him out for good.

All of this will, of course, require a significant schedule change at Fox News Channel, and that was announced virtually simultaneously with the news about O’Reilly’s departure:

Carlson had already taken over for Megyn Kelly at her old 9pm slot after she left the network for NBC News earlier this, so that time shift isn’t all that surprising, although it will be interesting to see if Carlson is able to sustain even a fraction of O’Reilly’s ratings, which had been winning the time slot among cable news networks for years. The other shows are shifts of shows that are on earlier in the evening or late afternoon, some of them representing changes that have taken place at the network since the departure of Ailes in July.

In any case, there’s no need to feel sorry for O’Reilly. He’s made millions of dollars over the twenty-one years he’s been with the network and will likely receive a significant buyout of his current contract as part of his departure from the network. What he does after this, though, is another question.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Mikey says:

    https://twitter.com/realdonaldtrump/status/719630780499128320

    Why does the liberal media think Bill O’Reilly (@oreillyfactor) is a complete and total vulgarian? I don’t think so!

    1:58 PM – 11 Apr 2016

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    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  2. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    Bill O’Reilly and Comb-over Donnie…serial assaulters and thought leaders of this once great nation.

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    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  3. Mark Ivey says:

    I await Trumps thoughts on this via Twitter……

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  4. HarvardLaw92 says:

    Jason Chaffetz is calling it quits as well. Not running for reelection.

    It’s turning out to be a pretty good day :-)

    ReplyReply

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 0

  5. James Pearce says:

    What he does after this, though, is another question.

    He’ll slap his name on books composed by his ghost writers.

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    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  6. Mr. Bluster says:

    Conservative Spokesman Bill O’Reilly Attacks Missouri Kidnapping victim Shawn Hornbeck.
    Just when you think this scumbag could not go any lower, he outdoes himself.
    Bill O’Reilly stated on his program that Shawn’s “experience in captivity was fun”….and that “he liked it”.
    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/1/18/292139/-

    In 2007 this pervert exposed himself for the knuckle dragging clod that he is.
    Good work Fox News!
    Only took you ten years to excise the tumor!

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  7. Stormy Dragon says:

    What he does after this, though, is another question.

    Ghost-written novel about the conspiracy to get him fired called Killing O’Reilly?

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  8. Jc says:

    I looked forward to his new book “Firing Bill O’Reilly” – He actually has the time to write this one on his own…

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    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  9. Neil Hudelson says:

    although it will be interesting to see if Carlson is able to sustain even a fraction of O’Reilly’s ratings, which had been winning the time slot among cable news networks for years.

    Oh I’m sure they’ll be able to find a septuageniarian willing to blame all crime on black people, all societal ills on the gays, and chastise liberals for not having moral values (while he secretly goes Trump all over his female coworkers) in no time.

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  10. Greg says:

    O’Reilly … done.
    Chaffetz … done.
    Ossoff ..just getting started.

    It’s a good day.
    Yup, in Marietta (dist 6)

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  11. michael reynolds says:

    O’Reilly is a talented broadcaster and superb liar and propagandist. I don’t like to see anyone lose their gig, but maybe try not to fondle, degrade and harass women for the crime of being female.

    The shade this casts on every woman working at Fox News, and by extension throughout the NewsCorp universe must be hard to bear. Imagine the assumptions they face if they look for another job. They are drive-by victims of O’Reilly’s dickishness.

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  12. grumpy realist says:

    And Ol’ Bill is still claiming that these are all “tremendously unfounded lies.”

    I swear, I’m starting to think that every woman should go armed and when a sleazy old pervert backs her against the wall just shoot the idiot in the balls. Maybe THAT will start getting rid of the “no, no, I was just flirting” excuses.

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  13. Hal_10000 says:

    Let the lesson be learned, if you harass and assault women, you will … eventually … possibly … get fired so that you can, within weeks, start collecting five- or six-figure speaking fees.

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  14. grumpy realist says:

    And of course Donald Trump “doesn’t think” that his good friend Bill O’Reilly has done anything wrong….

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  15. Mr. Bluster says:

    And of course Donald Trump “doesn’t think” that his good friend Bill O’Reilly has done anything wrong….

    Pud and Crud

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  16. MarkedMan says:

    @grumpy realist:

    And Ol’ Bill is still claiming that these are all “tremendously unfounded lies.”

    Interesting comment that. I’m not sure what the settlement entails, but doesn’t it usually require both parties to not comment or, at the very least, not make disparaging remarks about the other side? Is O’Reilly opening up the possibility that the women could now come forward?

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  17. Pch101 says:

    One person’s harassment is another person’s pickup line.

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  18. Tyrell says:

    For the last few years the news networks have started following the print news into self induced obsolescence and irrelevance. This has been led by the CNN collapse after Turner dropped it. Part of this is due to the scandals of faked, staged news stories, personal problems, and the unprofessionalism of the commentators: hollering and berating their guests, sensationalism, and hysterics (“Breaking News”). The commentators are not journalists like we used to know and trust: Conkrite, Murrow, Reasoner, Smith, Mudd, Brinkley, Thomas, and the incomparable Charles Kuralt. Can anyone imagine Charles Kuralt hollering at a guest ? These were professionals who researched and gave the facts, not agenda driven opinion commentaries. The commentators on these news networks today would not have been allowed in the parking lot years ago.
    People have turned to alternative news sources. Look at the varied You Tube- news sites: Dice, Jones, Next News, Begley, WND. News programs to fit anyone’s tastes and requirements.
    The people still respect the timeless 20th Century Fox Film division which gave us popular classics “Cleopatra”, “The Longest Day”, “The Sound of Music”, and “Star Wars”, “Narnia“, “Ice Age“, “X Men“. Fox Entertainment channel: the excellent “Sleepy Hollow”, and “Legion”.
    The delivery of news continues to evolve. It has been quite some time since I have been in a morning cafe and there were newspapers laying around for customers to read.
    Now it seems to me that there is room for another sports network that could give ESPN a run for their money. Fox Sports is good, but lacks consistency.

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  19. DrDaveT says:

    So, how long before the revealed predatory preferences at Fox News start to rub off the other direction, onto the GOP? Ten years? Twenty?

    Of course, the cutting irony is that the GOP is not afraid to express its contempt for Muslim treatment of women, even as they practice an identical ethos at home.

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  20. Grumpy Realist says:

    @Pch101: Unfortunately…maybe we should bring back hatpins, which used to be used by women to ward off mashers.

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  21. JohnMcC says:

    @Tyrell: I’m speechless. I read through that comment twice. It’s poetry.

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  22. Guarneri says:

    If O’Reilly had any brains he’d be getting his unit loobered in the Oval Office.

    He’d be a hero.

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 8

  23. SC_Birdflyte says:

    At least with “The Five”moving to 9 pm Eastern, I won’t have my workouts disrupted by having to watch it while I’m at the gym.

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  24. Jen says:

    It’s about time. Utterly appalling that he’s been permitted to stick around for as long as he has.

    The fact that he’ll probably walk away with something north of $60 million is rage-inducing, considering how little the women he harassed received. I wonder what my octogenarian father will watch on the tee-vee now.

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  25. Tyrell says:

    @Grumpy Realist: I remember with fondness when I would play with my mother’s long hat pins. Women were not messed with by some hooligan on the street.

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  26. Tony W says:

    @Tyrell: You are truly the Ken M of OTB

    ReplyReply

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  27. OzarkHillbilly says:

    What he does after this, though, is another question.

    Can I make a suggestion?

    ReplyReply

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  28. Liberal Capitalist says:

    Interesting development…

    I’m sure all would agree that All REAL conservatives respect women and treat them as equals. Nay, even hold them in HIGHEST regard.

    No REAL conservative would ever assault a woman or treat her in a degrading manner.

    So, brought to you by the “No Real Scotsman” fallacy, we find that Bill O’Reilly is NOT a REAL conservative!

    From the spin doctors at Breitbart:

    Bill O’Reilly’s Secret: He Was a Centrist, Not a Conservative

    So, for all the folks on the right: Calm down, he wasn’t a REAL conservative thought leader.

    It’s clear that he has always been an agent of Emmanuel Goldstein.

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  29. MarkedMan says:

    The effort “Tyrell” puts into this. Amazing.

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  30. Pch101 says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:

    Oceania is at war with Eastasia. Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia.

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  31. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @Pch101: “Open your legs or I’ll kill your career” is a pick up line now? Good to know.

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  32. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @Tyrell:

    News programs to fit anyone’s tastes and requirements.

    The old Right Wing attack against the NYT–“all the news that fits”–repackaged as an endorsement for Alex Jones and WND. Tyrell, you are just amazing! Do you even listen to yourself? Read what you’ve written?

    ReplyReply

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  33. Pch101 says:

    Tyrell is either a performance artist troll or a wingnut.

    If he is a performance artist troll, then he will be delighted that he made you react.

    If he is a wingnut, then he won’t understand your reaction.

    Either way, don’t bother.

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  34. Joe Gage says:

    It’s a great day when this animal and amateur author is exposed for the POS he really is. Good time though to revisit the infamous Loofah incident.

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2017/04/20/whatever-happened-to-bill-oreillys-loofah/

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  35. Kylopod says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:

    So, brought to you by the “No Real Scotsman” fallacy, we find that Bill O’Reilly is NOT a REAL conservative!

    O’Reilly has always tried to present himself as a sort of moderate or non-ideologue. It’s part of his shtick as the Only Reasonable Person in the Room. He even has his own expression to convey this feeling–this look on his face suggesting he’s the only cool-headed one not giving in to base passions (which is pretty ironic, considering). It’s the basis behind his Orwellian slogan “No Spin Zone” (which was always laughable since his entire program was spin) and stuff like his false claim to be registered as an independent.

    Of course even if he were a moderate rather than a faux one, that wouldn’t in any way imply he was more objective or fair than a more doctrinaire conservative. That’s a common fallacy, and he’s built his whole career around a particularly cartoonish variant which goes something like this: I don’t have much patience for the far right of Hitler or the far left of the Clintons, so join me in the fuzzy, Sean Hannity middle.

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  36. gVOR08 says:

    Got nothing to say except goodbye. You’re leaving? Good. Bye.

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  37. al-Alameda says:

    I am very worried about Bill’s financial future, after all, over the years he’s had to settle multiple allegations and claims of sexual harassment for about $13M,of with $9M he personally paid.

    Now, it appears, he will probably be paid 5 to 10 times the amount his abusive conduct cost, as he leaves Fox. What will he do next? A Crowd Source funding appeal? Replace Sean Spicer, at a very low 6-figure salary?

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  38. teve tory says:

    Guarneri says:
    Thursday, April 20, 2017 at 00:46
    If O’Reilly had any brains he’d be getting his unit loobered in the Oval Office.

    A fifth grader can understand the difference between a consensual relationship and sexual harassment. Can we get at least some semi-intelligent trolls here please?

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    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  39. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @grumpy realist:

    And of course Donald Trump “doesn’t think” that his good friend Bill O’Reilly has done anything wrong….

    He also thinks he has an aircraft carrier off the Korean Coast.

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  40. grumpy realist says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl: Well, I can already see how the attack on North Korea will work out: the U.S. Army is going to attack….Sydney?

    A lot of kangaroos are going to be hopping mad. Which leads to them attacking us with, I guess, beach balloons.

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  41. grumpy realist says:

    P.S. I pass on that story to would-be programmers to point out the dangers of recycling objects in Object-Oriented code.

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  42. michael reynolds says:

    OK, stop picking on @Tyrell. I believe he’s making a genuine effort to understand the world, which puts him several levels above @Guarneri who is demonstrating the effects of old age on an already-sclerotic mind.

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  43. al-Alameda says:

    @Tyrell:

    I remember with fondness when I would play with my mother’s long hat pins. Women were not messed with by some hooligan on the street.

    Some kids used to think that lead-based paint chips were delicious – ah, the good old days!

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  44. grumpy realist says:

    Methinks that Billy hasn’t been paying his lawyers in a timely manner.

    Either that, or Billy tried some of his stuff on one of the clerks at the law firm…..

    Moral of the story: do not piss off people who have access to your emails and the internet.

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