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Fox News fires Bill O'Reilly in wake of scandal, advertiser boycott

20 April 2017, 04:00 | Myron Mathis

Greg Doherty Getty Images Teresa Kroeger Getty Images Lisa Bloom Bill O'Reilly

Greg Doherty  Getty Images Teresa Kroeger  Getty Images                      Lisa Bloom Bill O'Reilly

An internal memo was sent to Fox News Channel employees Wednesday, according to The Associated Press.

(AP Photo/Richard Drew, File).

This story has been corrected to show that the downfall of O'Reilly began with an April 1, not April 2 report in The New York Times. It's the top-rated show on the No. 1 cable network - one that, according to the investment bank Nomura's estimates, accounts for fully 20 percent of profits at 21st Century Fox. It goes on to read: "By ratings standards, Bill O'Reilly is one of the most accomplished TV personalities in the history of cable news".

O'Reilly is on a almost two-week vacation at the same time Fox News Channel's parent company looks into a woman's accusation that her career was slowed when she spurned his advances. Fans loved his willingness to talk back to power or point out hypocrisy among liberal politicians or media members.

Former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson has called on her Twitter followers to pressure Congress into passing the Fairness in Arbitration Act, which seeks to ensure that all Americans can hold large corporations accountable for wrongdoing in court. "Cable news is someone standing on a mountain top shouting, and Bill O'Reilly was on the highest peak so he echoed across the landscape".

And he keeps echoing in the broader media landscape.

In contrast to Fox News, Henry Holt, an imprint of Macmillan that has published O'Reilly's best-selling books, said it was standing by him.

This was significant because O'Reilly and Fox had said that none of the women accusing O'Reilly of improprieties had ever contacted human resources or called the hotline. The host is presumably owed tens of millions of dollars under the terms of his multi-year contract, though the contract may have contained clauses allowing Fox News to get out of the deal. Dozens of advertisers ditched "The O'Reilly Factor" after a New York Times report detailed $13 million in payouts to five women over his alleged abusive behavior; more allegations subsequently emerged.

Fox News Channel released a statement on Wednesday announcing its new prime-time lineup in the wake of O'Reilly's departure.


Rupert Murdoch and his sons James and Lachlan, who run 21st Century Fox, made the announcement Wednesday afternoon. "I spent over nine years playing a character based largely on him, and then 12 months in therapy to de-bloviate myself", the Late Show host, 52, said, referring to his Comedy Central show that ended in 2014. O'Reilly was photographed in Rome shaking Pope Francis' hand on Wednesday.

"It is tremendously disheartening that we part ways due to completely unfounded claims", O'Reilly said in a statement.

Marc Kasowitz, O'Reilly's attorney, said that it was "outrageous that an allegation from an anonymous person about something that purportedly happened nearly a decade ago is being treated as fact, especially where there is obviously an orchestrated campaign by activists and lawyers to destroy Mr. O'Reilly and enrich themselves through publicity driven donations".

Longtime Fox critics don't see it. Fox News has a "culture of harassment that did not start and does not end with Bill O'Reilly", said Rashad Robinson, executive director of the activist group Color of Change, which pressured advertisers to leave his show.

O'Reilly, 67, had ruled the "no spin zone" on television with a quick smile and an even quicker temper.

KURTZ: And a cordial relationship with President Trump.

Don't expect O'Reilly to slip quietly away, said Annenberg's Hollihan. "You failed him. You failed Bill O'Reilly". He has also had best-sellers with everything from the memoir "A Bold Fresh Piece of Humanity" to his most recent work, "Old School", which includes passages urging the respectful treatment of women. In preparing their article, reporters for the New York Times had sent Fox's executives a long list of questions, placing senior executives on alert months in advance of its publication. "I don't like him, but he makes so much money, there's nothing I can do'". Potential successors like Dana Perino, Eric Bolling and Greg Gutfeld have substituted for O'Reilly since he left for vacation.

"Hello, Nation, and shame on you".

"I owe a lot to Bill O'Reilly". You didn't deserve this great man.



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