Bill O’Reilly may be gone from Fox News.
But the controversial host isn’t leaving quietly.
On Wednesday afternoon, 21st Century Fox announced that it had parted ways with O’Reilly in the wake of allegations that he sexually harassed at least five women who either worked for the network or appeared on The O’Reilly Factor over the years.
These women were paid a total of $13 million in hush money, while a sixth women spoke to the media last week about the inappropriate ways in which O’Reilly had treated her.
Following The New York Times report that exposed these incidents, O’Reilly pleaded innocent via a statement on his website, while ignoring the topic on air.
But over 70 companies pulled their ads from The O’Reilly factor, an impressive display of protest that basically gave Fox News no choice.
“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,” read the dismissal confirmation yesterday.
"This decision follows an extensive review done in collaboration with outside counsel.
"By ratings standards, Bill O’Reilly is one of the most accomplished TV personalities in the history of cable news. In fact, his success by any measure is indisputable.
"Fox News has demonstrated again and again the strength of its talent bench. We have full confidence that the network will continue to be a powerhouse in cable news.
"Lastly, and most importantly, we want to underscore our consistent commitment to fostering a work environment built on the values of trust and respect."
A few hours after this statement went public, O’Reilly released a parting shot of his own.
The staunch conservative, who had worked at the network since 1996, said the following in response to his firing:
“Over the past 20 years at Fox News, I have been extremely proud to launch and lead one of the most successful news programs in history, which has consistently informed and entertained millions of Americans and significantly contributed to building Fox into the dominant news network in television.
"It is tremendously disheartening that we part ways due to completely unfounded claims.
"But that is the unfortunate reality many of us in the public eye must live with today. I will always look back on my time at Fox with great pride in the unprecedented success we achieved and with my deepest gratitude to all my dedicated viewers.
"I wish only the best for Fox News Channel.”
Last summer, 21st Century Fox CEO Roger Ailes resigned in the wake of his own sexual misconduct scandal.
Such major network stars as Gretchen Carlson and Megyn Kelly accused Ailes of treating them as nothing but objects with breasts, while Kelly turned down a $20 million-per-year contract from Fox to move to NBC this year.
Most believe she did so largely due to the work environment fostered by Fox News executives.
Beginning on April 24, Tucker Carlson will take over the 8 p.m. time slot previously held by O’Reilly.
On Wednesday night, though, Dana Perino sat behind the desk of simply The Factor and said the following to close the program:
It is the end of an era here at the Fox News Channel. As we mentioned earlier, Bill O’Reilly is leaving this chair and this network after more than 20 years.
Bill has been the undisputed King of Cable News – and for good reason.
He is an incredibly talented broadcaster who raised the bar for interviewers everywhere. He has also held his staff to exacting standards in his quest to put the best possible program on the air, and they are great.
Perino did not mention the $13 million in settlements or anything about the circumstances surrounding O’Reilly losing his job.
Here is how she concluded her tribute:
You, his audience, responded in record numbers, making The Factor the No. 1 cable news show for more than 16 years. You have also been loyal, and we can’t tell you how much that means to everyone on The Factor.
By ratings standards, Bill is one of the most accomplished TV personalities in the history of cable news. In fact, his success, by any measure, is indisputable.
We wish him the very best.