Presenter Bill O’Reilly has been dropped from Fox News amid sexual harassment claims. The one sentence statement from the network said:
“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.”
Mr. O’Reilly has reportedly been on holiday since April 12, and he was seen shaking hands with Pope Francis on Wednesday at the Vatican.
More than 50 sponsors for the prime-time show, The O’Reilly Factor, have withdrawn ads from the show.
Pressure on the company had mounted as recent reports suggested that $10m was paid to five women in payouts because of Mr. O’Reilly’s behavior.
The presenter, who has been with Fox News since almost its inception, has denied all the allegations.
According to New York Magazine, the decision came after an emergency meeting of 21st Century Fox board.
The channel added in a follow-up statement that broadcaster Tucker Carlson would take over O’Reilly’s slot.
The company wrote in an internal memo sent to 21st Century Fox employees that the decision was reached after “extensive review done in collaboration with outside counsel.”
Mr. O’Reilly was praised as “one of the most accomplished TV personalities in the history of cable news” in a letter, signed by Rupert Murdoch and his sons.
Nearly four million viewers were drawn per night by The O’Reilly Factor.
The latest allegation came on Tuesday when a lawyer for a former African-American clerical worker at Fox claimed that Mr. O’Reilly harassed her client in 2008.
Marc Kasowitz, O’Reilly’s attorney, described the latest allegations as part of a “brutal campaign of character assassination that is unprecedented in post-McCarthyist America.” He claimed that this was being driven by “far-left organizations bent on destroying O’Reilly for political and financial reasons.”
U.S. media reported that sources at Fox News said that Rupert Murdoch was in favor of keeping Mr. O’Reilly, but CEO James Murdoch argued that Mr. O’Reilly should leave.
The reputation of the cable and satellite news channel had taken hit when the former head, Roger Ailes faced sexual harassment allegations. He resigned after being sued by a former Fox News presenter, Gretchen Carlson in 2016.