21st Century Fox notified Bill O’Reilly that his time with the Fox News network has come to an end. The company released a statement saying, “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.”
The departure of O’Reilly comes on the heels of a large-scale sexual harassment scandal reported by The New York Times. The report discussed how settlements totaling $13 million had been given to five women by Fox and O’Reilly. Each of the women had accused O’Reilly of sexual harassment or verbal abuse.
Once the report from the Times was released, more than 60 advertisers pulled their ads from O’Reilly’s show, “The O’Reilly Factor,” which was considered the biggest show on the Fox News channel.
O’Reilly soon went on vacation as advertisers began fleeing the show, and was expected to return to work on Monday before the announcement today.
Rupert Murdoch, the head of 21st Century Fox, sent a letter to employees of the network regarding the decision, which was obtained by CNN.
The letter states the decision to sever ties with O’Reilly was based on “a thorough and careful review of the allegations against him” and that it “follows an extensive review done in collaboration with outside counsel.”
When discussing O’Reilly career with the network, the letter states, “By ratings standards, Bill O’Reilly is one of the most accomplished TV personalities in the history of cable news. In fact, his success by any measure is indisputable.” Murdoch goes on to reassure employees, “Fox News has demonstrated again and again the strength of its talent bench. We have full confidence the network will continue to be a powerhouse in cable news.”
The letter closes, “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 new Fox News lineup was released almost immediately after the decision regarding O’Reilly’s departure was announced. Tucker Carlson will shift from the 9 p.m. slot into the 8 p.m. slot previously occupied by O’Reilly. “The Five” is moving into the 9 p.m. slot with a new co-host, as the previous co-host, Eric Bolling, will begin a 5 p.m. solo show starting on May 1.
21st Century Fox had felt significant pressure to act regarding the allegations against O’Reilly once the Times piece broke. Liberal groups pressured advertisers to boycott the show based on the near decade timeline that covered all of the sexual harassment accusations in hopes of forcing Fox News to act.
Once advertisers like Allstate, BMW, GlaxoSmithKline, Hyundai, Mitsubishi and many others fled, “The O’Reilly Factor” ceased to be commercially viable. In a statement released by Angelo Carusone, president of Media Matters for America regarding the recent announcement, “Fox News had no choice but to fire O’Reilly. Accountability came from the outside, not from within.”