Embattled Fox News host Bill O’Reilly will not return to the air.
In a statement released Wednesday, parent company 21st Century Fox announced that O’Reilly had lost his job at Fox News Channel. “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,” a statement said.
The decision comes after advertisers fled the O’Reilly Factor over revelations that Fox News paid out nearly $13 million in settlements to five women who claimed the host sexually harassed them. Last week, O’Reilly announced he would be taking a vacation that was planned “last fall,” prompting sources at Fox News to reveal the Murdoch family is considering whether to keep O’Reilly on the air. He was scheduled to return next Monday.
Tuesday, protesters organized by the group UltraViolet gathered outside Fox News headquarters to demand the network fire O’Reilly.
“Bill O’Reilly is a serial sexual predator, a bigot, and a misogynist. He will not be missed,” Shaunna Thomas, co-founder of UltraViolet, said Wednesday.
“But Fox News’ problem with sexual harassment and assault is way bigger than just Bill O’Reilly. For years, Fox News executives, like Bill Shine, have provided cover for systematic sexual harassment and abuse of Fox New’s employees. From Roger Ailes to Bill O’Reilly, Fox News has consistently failed to provide a workplace safe from sexual harassment and abuse – and that’s a big problem.”
According to New York Magazine’s Gabriel Sherman, Rupert Murdoch and his son Lachlan originally intended to keep O’Reilly on in part, as one source said, because Rupert worried it would look as if he was forced out by the New York Times. James, meanwhile, was working behind the scenes to see O’Reilly ousted at the network.
“Fox News was forced to act. They had years to address serial sexual harassment at Fox News. They didn’t; they actually enabled it. So, individuals and groups took action to educate advertisers. Advertisers fled because they immediately recognized what Fox News has ignored for over a decade: that serial sexual harassment is not only wrong, but bad for business,” Media Matters President Angelo Carusone said in a statement.
“Without advertisers, Bill O’Reilly’s show was no longer commercially viable. Fox News had no choice but to fire O’Reilly. Accountability came from the outside, not from within. Fox News deserves no accolades, only scorn for the industrial scale harassment they have forced their employees to endure.”