We may have seen Bill O'Reilly for the final time as a host on Fox News.
The embattled anchor is currently on vacation from his gig as The O'Reilly Factor host, telling viewers last week that he'll return to the post later this month.
But a new report strongly hints that O'Reilly's bosses do not want him back in the seat that made him rich and famous.
Not later this month. Not ever again.
And it’s the source of this report that has folks truly believing in its accuracy.
The Wall Street Journal (which is owned by Rupert Murdoch, the same man who owns Fox News) wrote on Tuesday that a decision on O’Reilly’s future at the network will be made at some point in the next few days.
It appears, however, as if that decision has essentially already been made, with the article's headline reading as follows:
Fox Is Preparing to Cut Ties With Bill O’Reilly.
There we appear to have it.
The Wall Street Journal's prediction comes about a week after The New York Times broke the story behind this story:
Over the past decade or so, O'Reilly has paid five different women a total of $13 million in hush money.
Each of these women claimed at various times that O'Reilly sexually harassed them in some way, shape or form; either via inappropriate remarks, promises to elevate them at Fox News if they slept with him...
... or even phone calls in which it sounded as if he was pleasuring himself.
A sixth woman, Dr. Wendy Walsh, told The Times that she turned down O’Reilly’s sexual advances and he responded by reneging on his promise to make her a network contributor.
Walsh says she isn't seeking any money at all from O'Reilly.
She just wants the world to know what kind of person he is.
It is also believed that Megyn Kelly left Fox News for NBC due to the way the network swept all of these allegations under the rug.
“Just like other prominent and controversial people, I’m vulnerable to lawsuits from individuals who want me to pay them to avoid negative publicity,” O’Reilly said in a statement on his website in response to these claims.
He added at the time:
“In my more than 20 years at Fox News Channel, no one has ever filed a complaint about me with the Human Resources Department, even on the anonymous hotline.”
(Editor's Note: This is one of the more pathetic self-defense statements in recent memory; the anonymous hotline was run by Fox News, the exact organization which is under fire for ignoring O'Reilly history.)
In the wake of these explosive assertions from all these woman, an endless array of advertisers have pulled their spots on The O'Reilly Factor.
The decision to keep or O’Reilly or part ways with the host ultimately boils down to Fox News CEO Murdoch and his sons James and Lachlan, according to New York Magazine.
Insiders tell the publication that that James and Lachlan want O’Reilly out, while Rupert remains in his corner.
“The three are fighting,” a source confirms.
O’Reilly is still Fox News’ top-rated host. His show brings in over four million viewers each night.
The controversial star's attorney on Tuesday defended his client by saying O'Reilly has been “subjected to a brutal campaign of character assassination that is unprecedented in post-McCarthyist America.”
In a statement, Marc Kasowitz also went on to say that “this law firm has uncovered evidence that the smear campaign is being orchestrated by far-left organizations bent on destroying O’Reilly for political and financial reasons.
"That evidence will be put forth shortly and it is irrefutable.”
We'll be curious to see it.
It's worth noting, however, that an organization may aim to smear someone and/or to assassinate his character... but it still needs actual material with which to take these actions.
In other words: nowhere in this lawyer's statement does he deny the sexual misconduct claims against O'Reilly.