NEW YORK (CelebrityAccess) — Fox News host Bill O’Reilly has been forced out of his position at Fox News the company said, after multiple women lodged allegations of sexual harassment against him. His ouster ends a two-decade reign as Fox News’ ratings leader.
"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, Fox News’s parent company, said in a statement on Wednesday.
O’Reilly and his prime time show The O’Reilly Factor have been a fixture at Fox News since 1996 in the early days of the conservative cable news network. The O’Reilly Factor has routinely been the highest-rated show of the three major U.S. 24-hour cable news television and helped to lay the foundation of the industry's current focus opinion-oriented prime time ‘newsertainment.’
Despite his success, O’Reilly has been dogged by allegations of sexual harassment by female colleagues over the years. In 2016, shortly after the ouster of Fox News chief Rogers Ailes on sexual harassment charges, O’Reilly settled a sexual harassment lawsuit leveled by former Fox host Juliet Huddy. Huddy alleged that O'Reilly pursued an romantic relationship with her and engaged in inappropriate behavior, including a telephone call during which she believed O’Reilly to be masturbating.
In April, The New York Times published an article that detailed sexual harassment allegations against O'Reilly dating back to 2002 that included lawsuits from Fox hosts Rebecca Diamond, Laurie Dhue, as well as junior producer Rachel Witlieb Bernstein, who accused O’Reilly of verbal abuse. According to the Times, the various settled lawsuits against O’Reilly cost Fox approximately $13 million.
Following the Times report, Fox News took another hit on its bottom line after more than 50 advertisers pulled out of prime time advertising slots on O’Reilly's show, the Times reported. O’Reilly took a two week 'vacation' while 21st Century Fox hired the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison to conduct an investigation into the most recent allegation.
Mr. O’Reilly has denied the allegations against him. – Staff Writers