Thursday, 27 April, 2017

Fox News fires Bill O'Reilly after sexual harassment accusations

President Trump's Super Bowl Sunday Interview With Bill O'Reilly President Trump's Super Bowl Sunday Interview With Bill O'Reilly
Howard Terry | 21 April, 2017, 00:10

O'Reilly's departure follows the ouster of Fox News' former chief Roger Ailes, a close confidante of the company's founder Rupert Murdoch, also over sexual harassment charges. Through his lawyers O'Reilly said it is "tremendously disheartening" to leave Fox News and added they are "completely unfounded claims".

Bill O'Reilly's primetime news and talk show guaranteed a good dose of strong outspoken conservative politics, mixed in with a fair bit of "I told you so" from the host, occasionally a visit from candidate Donald Trump and more recently President Trump.

A few 21st Century Fox executives outside the news division had said that they wanted a resolution and that O'Reilly would have been fired earlier had he worked in their groups, according to people familiar with the matter.

Mr O'Reilly has been enmeshed in controversy since the start of this month after The New York Times reported five women were paid about $US13 million ($A17 million) in exchange for agreeing not to pursue litigation or speak about accusations of sexual harrassment. After the Pope's traditional Wednesday address, O'Reilly shook hands with Francis.

Ailes, 76, launched the network in 1996 and oversaw its development into a high-ratings TV network and an effective PR platform for Republican politics.

"In many ways, he led Fox's cable news revolution", said Frank Sesno, a journalism professor at George Washington University and former CNN Washington bureau chief.

"Mission accomplished", said Keith Olbermann, who frequently tweaked O'Reilly on an MSNBC show that competed in the same time slot for several years. Shares of Twenty-First Century Fox ended Wednesday's trading on the Nasdaq down less than 1 percent at $30.39 and analysts said the network's viewers would likely remain loyal. Carlson's settlement was for $20 million, and Fox News issued a public apology to Carlson.

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.

Lisa Bloom, who represents three women accusing O'Reilly of sexual harassment, called the announcement by Fox News a victory for victims who were fearless enough to come forward and hopes more will now do the same.

O'Reilly will be replaced in his prime-time lineup by Fox host Tucker Carlson. And dozens of companies have pulled their advertisements from his show.

Bill O'Reilly tarnished the intellect of a generation, but at least we got Stephen Colbert out of it.

"Lastly, and most importantly, we want to underscore our consistent commitment to fostering a work environment built on the values of trust and respect", the 21st Century Fox email said Wednesday.

O'Reilly and co-author Martin Dugard are due to release another book in the "Killing" series in September, and a spokeswoman for publisher Henry Holt and Co. said that plans had not changed.

Star cable news anchor Bill O'Reilly will not be resuming his position as host of Fox News' "The O'Reilly Factor", announced 21st Century Fox on Wednesday. And I said, well if you mean he's a neanderthal, then we're on the same page.

"Looking back on all of O'Reilly's greatest hits, the one thing that's hard to believe is that it took this long for him to lose his job".

Bloom said she hopes the O'Reilly case will serve as an example to women who have been similarly victimized but have not come forward.

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