21st Century Fox on Wednesday said primetime host Bill O’Reilly wouldn’t return to Fox News, ending weeks of speculation about his future at the outlet.
The company’s statement came amid reports that Fox was preparing to cut ties with O’Reilly in light of a barrage of sexual-harassment allegations.
“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,” 21st Century Fox, the parent company of Fox News, said in the statement.
O’Reilly had spearheaded the networks’ primetime lineup for over two decades. He’s currently on vacation in Italy and was set to return on April 24.
Tucker Carlson will take over O’Reilly’s 8 p.m. Eastern time slot, Fox News said. O’Reilly’s show, “The O’Reilly Factor,” will air the rest of this week with guest hosts.
In an internal memo obtained by Business Insider, News Corp. Executive Chairman Rupert Murdoch and his sons, Lachlan and James, said that “after a thorough and careful review of allegations against him, the company and Bill O’Reilly have agreed that Mr. O’Reilly will not return to the Fox News Channel.
“This decision follows an extensive review done in collaboration with outside counsel,” the memo said.
The memo also praised O’Reilly’s successes.
“By ratings standards, Bill O’Reilly is one of the most accomplished TV personalities in the history of cable news,” the memo said. “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.”
The memo closed by saying the Murdochs wanted to “underscore” their “consistent commitment to fostering a work environment built on the values of trust and respect.”
The news of O’Reilly’s departure comes on the heels of an exodus of advertisers from his show’s time slot. Earlier this month, The New York Times published an investigation that found that O’Reilly and Fox News had paid out $US13 million to five women to settle sexual-harassment claims they had brought against him.
Multiple other women have accused O’Reilly of sexual harassment since. On Tuesday, an unnamed black woman said through her attorney, Lisa Bloom, that O’Reilly leered at her and called her “hot chocolate” in 2008. Bloom is also representing Wendy Walsh, a former Fox News contributor who has said that O’Reilly reneged on an offer of employment after she rebuffed his advances and declined an invitation to his hotel suite in 2013.
Walsh and the unnamed woman both reported their experiences to the Fox News hotline. 21st Century Fox said after Walsh had called the hotline that it was opening an investigation into O’Reilly’s conduct.
Sonam Sheth contributed to this report.
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