UPDATE: O’Reilly issued a statement on Wednesday reflecting on his time at Fox News, standing by his claims that he is innocent of wrongdoing. “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,” the statement reads. “It is tremendously disheartening that we part ways due to completely unfounded claims. But tat 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.”
ORIGINAL STORY: The end of an era. Bill O’Reilly has officially been forced out at Fox News after numerous sexual harassment allegations surfaced in recent weeks, Fox’s parent company 21st Century Fox confirmed on Wednesday, April 19. Find out more in the video above, and detailed below.
“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.
Earlier in the day, New York Magazine reported that O’Reilly, 67, would be let go from his decades-long position as an anchor at Fox News prior to his return from an Italian vacation on April 24. According to sources, network executives were most concerned about how to make O’Reilly’s transition out as seamless as possible.
O’Reilly has been a commentator on the cable news channel for just over two decades, and arguably has one of the most loyal viewerships of any personality on cable television. (NYMag reports that O’Reilly’s ratings actually saw an uptick amid the growing number of sexual harassment allegations in recent weeks.)
Approximately two and a half weeks ago, the New York Times revealed that O’Reilly and Fox News had quietly reached settlements with five women who had filed complaints against him over the years, with the monetary compensation totaling somewhere close to $13 million.
Most recently, one woman claimed that O’Reilly once called her “hot chocolate” and would make inappropriate comments and grunts at her in the workplace.
In the days following the Times’ initial report, more than 50 advertisers pulled their ads from O’Reilly’s show, and women’s rights groups called for the news anchor to be fired.
For his part, O’Reilly vehemently denied any wrongdoing, with his lawyer claiming that the host “has been subjected to a brutal campaign of character assassination that is unprecedented in post-McCarthyist America.” President Donald Trump added fuel to the fire by saying in an interview with the Times that O’Reilly is “a good person.”
“I think he shouldn’t have settled; personally, I think he shouldn’t have settled,” Trump, 70, said in the controversial Times interview. “Because you should have taken it all the way. I don’t think Bill did anything wrong.”
Last July, former Fox News Channel chairman and CEO Roger Ailes resigned amid similar sexual harassment allegations.
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