US anchor Bill O’Reilly has been forced out of FOX News following sexual harassment claims lodged against him.
O’Reilly was the network’s most popular anchor but the Murdoch family faced pressure to act in the face of mounting negative publicity surrounding the sexual harassment claims against him.
O’Reilly’s behaviour has been under scrutiny following a report in the New York Times that said he and FOX News have paid $13 million in settlements against women who have accused him of sexual harassment or abusive behaviour dating back to 2002. Advertisers subsequently moved their spots out The O’Reilly Factor, which has the highest ratings in cable news.
“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 said in a statement.
O’Reilly has been off the air since April 12th. He was scheduled to return from a vacation next Monday, but instead he will be replaced by Tucker Carlson.
On Wednesday afternoon, O’Reilly released a statement saying “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,” he said. “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.”
News has also emerged that the embattled anchor met Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Square, standing in line in a special VIP section this week.
As one media article put it, “It is unclear if Pope Francis is aware of who Bill O’Reilly is…”
Source: LA Times