Bill O’Reilly out at Fox after 20 years
NEW YORK (AP) — Fox News Channel’s parent company fired Bill O’Reilly on Wednesday following an investigation into harassment allegations, bringing a stunning end to cable news’ most popular program and one that came to define the bravado of his network throughout 20 years.
O’Reilly lost his job the same day he was photographed in Rome shaking the hand of Pope Francis.
The downfall of Fox’s most popular — and most lucrative — personality began with an April 2 report in The New York Times that five women were paid a total of $13 million to keep quiet about unpleasant encounters with O’Reilly, who denies any wrongdoing. Dozens of his show’s advertisers fled within days, even though O’Reilly’s viewership increased.
O’Reilly’s exit came nine months after his former boss, Fox News CEO Roger Ailes, was ousted following allegations of sexual harassment.
Following the Times story, 21st Century Fox said it asked the same law firm that investigated Ailes to look into O’Reilly’s behavior. Company leaders Rupert Murdoch and his sons, Lachlan and James, said in a memo to Fox staff that their decision to ax O’Reilly came following an “extensive review” into the charges.