Fox News is cutting ties with Bill O’Reilly, the biggest star in its 20-year history, after mounting allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior prompted the network to end his program. “After a thorough and careful review of the allegations,” parent company 21st Century Fox said in a statement, “the company and Bill O’Reilly have agreed that Bill O’Reilly will not be returning to the Fox News Channel.” Wednesday’s decision seemed unimaginable a few short weeks ago, given O’Reilly’s long reign as the top-rated host in cable news. But the climate shifted dramatically after The New York Times reported on April 1 that O’Reilly or Fox had paid $13 million to settle five cases against him alleging sexual or other harassment. More than 50 advertisers withdrew from his prime-time show, and 21st Century Fox asked a law firm to investigate a complaint from a woman who said O’Reilly dropped efforts to make her a contributor in 2013 after she turned down his invitation to visit his hotel room. O’Reilly said in a statement Wednesday: “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.” O’Reilly, 67, had not previously commented on his status since leaving on vacation last week—he met Pope Francis Wednesday in a VIP line at the Vatican—but his lawyer issued a blistering statement Tuesday accusing his liberal opponents of a “smear campaign.” The statement said O’Reilly “has been subjected to a brutal campaign of character assassination that is unprecedented in post-McCarthyist America.”
Agreed.. At best, this was handled VERY poorly by the Murdoch family. And, we suspect there will most definitely be a backlash against Fox News by Bill’s legion of fans, whom he didn’t even get to say goodbye to. Wow..