Having satirized the conservative point of view for years on the “Colbert Report,” Stephen Colbert had the ability to both celebrate and mourn the firing of Bill O’Reilly by the Fox News Channel.
“He’s been a guest on this show and I take no pleasure in his downfall. I’m not going to sit here and publicly gloat,” Colbert said on Wednesday’s “Late Show,” before instructing the crew to take the camera off him, so he could privately gloat.
O’Reilly’s exit comes after an explosive report by The New York Times that found Fox and O’Reilly had paid $US13 million in settlements to women who accused the host of unwanted sexual advances, new sexual-harassment accusations, and an exodus of more than 20 advertisers from “The O’Reilly Factor.” O’Reilly left the show after the Times report claiming that he was taking a previously planned vacation. But on Wednesday, Fox issued a statement confirming that he “will not be returning to the Fox News Channel.”
“It’s not that big of a surprise,” Colbert said, referring to O’Reilly’s history of sexual-harassment allegations. “We all saw this coming at us like an old man cornering an intern in the break room.”
“The O’Reilly Factor” was the top-rated program across all the cable news networks for more than a decade. And Colbert gave credit to the fact that O’Reilly was very popular in reaction to the audience’s boos at the part of Fox’s statement calling O’Reilly “one of the most accomplished TV personalities in cable news history.”
“By ratings standards, he is,” Colbert said. “By moral standards, he was a self-righteous landfill of angry garbage.”
But Colbert had to pay some homage to O’Reilly, saying he had based part of his “Colbert Report” character on the conservative newsman. And to present another point of view, he brought back the “Report” character to bid farewell to his icon.
“Shame on you. You failed Bill O’Reilly,” he said to America. “You didn’t deserve this great man. All he ever did was have your back — and if you’re a woman, you know, have a go at the front, too.”
Coming out of the taped sketch, Colbert did offer O’Reilly devotees some consolation.
“In case you’re a fan of sexual harassers who are on TV all the time, we still have Donald Trump,” he said.
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