Bill O’Reilly, the star host of conservative Fox News Channel’s The O’Reilly Factor , recently plagued by mounting reports of sexual harassment allegations, was ousted by the very same network he steadfastly defended following similar accusations against its founder Roger Ailes.
The network’s parent company, 21st Century Fox, released a statement Wednesday afternoon announcing its divorce from O’Reilly, a native Long Islander and a divisive figure in media circles.
“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.
O’Reilly’s departure comes several weeks after The New York Times reported that Fox and O’Reilly paid five accusers a total of $13 million in settlements related to sexual harassment allegations. The article prompted several dozen companies to pull its advertisements from The O’Reilly Factor, the most-watched show on cable news. Among the accusations: a repeat guest on The O’Reilly Factor rejected advances from O’Reilly, who subsequently reneged on his offer to land the woman a job at the network.
The media figure’s dismissal also comes less than a year after the network forced out Ailes, its former chairman, CEO and founder. Ailes was also at the center of a sexual harassment scandal that rocked the network.
O’Reilly, who has been on vacation, has denied claims of sexual deviance. His attorney’s have compared the mounting accusations to a smear campaign perpetuated by left-leaning organizations.
According to reports, Fox was under significant pressure from advertisers and women inside the company who questioned whether the network was taking such allegations seriously. Another women reportedly came forward this week with her own allegations, and 21st Century Fox was purportedly set to deliberate on O’Reilly’s future on Thursday.
The Levittown-native and current Manhasset resident has seen his popularity—at least in conservative circles—soar over his 21 years at Fox News. O’Reilly offered unabashed opinions on politics and social issues and portrayed himself as a crusader against political correctness.
His status as a cable news juggernaut brought considerable power, and O’Reilly enjoyed the highest ratings of any political pundit on television.
Over the course of a year, Fox News has seen its chairman resign amid sexual harassment allegations, Megyn Kelly, herself a dynamic personality, leave for NBC, and now O’Reilly’s humiliating downfall.