By a more than 2-to-1 ratio, Americans say embattled Fox News host Bill O’Reilly’s show should be canceled, as the host faces mounting accusations of sexual misconduct.
A new poll released by Morning Consult on Wednesday showed 46% of American adults think Fox should scrap “The O’Reilly Factor,” compared to the 22% who said the network should not cancel the show.
Further, 23% of the show’s own viewers said that Fox should scrap the show, while 58% said Fox should keep it on the air.
That’s a notable shift from last week, when 41% of Americans said the network should scrub The O’Reilly Factor and 28% favoured keeping the show on the air. The shift came as more people became aware of the scandal involving O’Reilly — 50% of survey respondents this week said they’d heard of the allegations against O’Reilly, compared to 44% who said they’d heard about them last week.
The New York Times reported earlier this month that five former coworkers alleged repeated instances of verbal abuse, lewd comments, and unwanted advances that resulted in settlements paid by Fox News and O’Reilly himself.
Through a spokesperson, the Fox News host has denied the allegations, saying he settled complaints quietly not out of guilt, but because he felt the accusations would harm his family.
O’Reilly’s future at the network has become the subject of speculation since the Times report was released.
On Tuesday, New York Magazine reporter Gabriel Sherman reported that the network was leaning toward pulling O’Reilly from the air permanently. The Wall Street Journal reported that Fox was preparing to cut ties with O’Reilly as early as this week.
Before he left for a pre-scheduled vacation last week, a number of prominent advertisers dropped ads from “The O’Reilly Factor.” Protesters have gathered outside the network’s headquarters on multiple occasions calling for Fox News to dismiss O’Reilly.
O’Reilly has been the reigning king of primetime cable news for years.
Amid record highs across the cable landscape in the first quarter of 2017, “The O’Reilly Factor” garnered its highest ratings in the two decades it has been on the air and broke the previous record for highest viewership for a television program in a quarter. The day after the Times report, 3.65 million viewers tuned in to the show, over a million more viewers than the preceding and following Fox News programs.
A rotating cast of Fox News personalities have filled in for the embattled host while he is gone, but none have replicated his ratings.
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