NEW YORK (AP) — Fox News Channel’s parent company fired Bill O’Reilly on Wednesday following an investigation into harassment allegations, bringing a stunning end to cable news’ most popular program and one that came to define the bravado of his network over 20 years.

O’Reilly lost his job on the same day he was photographed in Rome shaking the hand of Pope Francis.

The downfall of Fox’s most popular — and most lucrative — personality began with an April 2 report in The New York Times that five women had been paid a total of $13 million to keep quiet about unpleasant encounters with O’Reilly, who has denied any wrongdoing. Dozens of his show’s advertisers fled within days, even though O’Reilly’s viewership increased.

O’Reilly’s exit came nine months after his former boss, Fox News CEO Roger Ailes, was ousted following allegations of sexual harassment.

Following the Times story, 21st Century Fox said it had asked the same law firm that investigated Ailes to look into O’Reilly’s behavior. 21st Century Fox leaders Rupert Murdoch and his sons Lachlan and James said in a memo to Fox staff that their decision to ax O’Reilly came following an “extensive review” into the charges.

“We want to underscore our consistent commitment to fostering a work environment built on the values of trust and respect,” the Murdochs said in a memo to Fox News staff members.

Fox said Tucker Carlson would move into O’Reilly’s time slot — the second time in three months he’s replaced an exiting prime-time personality. Carlson, a veteran pundit who has hosted shows on CNN, MSNBC and PBS, had taken over for Megyn Kelly in January when she announced she was moving to NBC News. “The Five,” a talk show with five rotating hosts that regularly airs at 5 p.m. ET, will move into the 9 p.m. time slot. Eric Bolling will host a new show that airs at 5 p.m. starting next month, the company said.

O’Reilly had ruled the “no spin zone” on television with a quick smile and an even quicker temper. He pushed a populist, conservative-leaning point of view born from growing up on Long Island, and was quick to shout down those who disagreed with him. Fans loved his willingness to talk back to power or point out hypocrisy among liberal politicians or media members.

His show generated $178 million in advertising revenue in 2015, according to Kantar Media. His audience was larger in the first three months of this year than it has ever been, according to Nielsen.

O’Reilly’s pugnacious personality wasn’t just an off-screen affectation, with one of the settlements going to a woman who complained about being shouted at in the newsroom. Even though at least one of the harassment cases against him dated back more than a decade and was widely reported then, the accumulation of cases outlined in the Times damaged him much more extensively. For Fox executives, it wasn’t clear when it would end: a campaign to target advertisers was continuing, a group of women demonstrated in front of Fox’s headquarters Tuesday and another woman, a former clerical worker at Fox, called a harassment hotline and accusing the host of boorish behavior.

“I’m not going away,” said Lisa Bloom, attorney for the latest accuser and another woman who alleges her career stalled because she spurned O’Reilly’s advances.

O’Reilly’s attorney, Marc Kasowitz, charged that his client was being subjected to a “brutal campaign of character assassination” and that there is a smear campaign orchestrated by far-left organizations bent on destroying O’Reilly for political and financial reasons.

Conservative personality Glenn Beck — who once lost a job at Fox News Channel because a similar campaign choked his program of paying advertisers — came to O’Reilly’s defense of Wednesday, but it was too late. O’Reilly’s fans aren’t likely to be happy about his losing his job, particularly on a controversy set in motion by the Times, a publication hated in conservative circles.

“You need to write and call Fox News Channel today and tell them, you can lose your advertisers or you can lose your viewers,” Beck said on his radio show hours before the firing. “But you have to put some spine back into the Murdoch family and the Fox News Channel board because you are about to lose Bill O’Reilly.”

O’Reilly had been scheduled to return from his vacation next Monday, and there had been some talk of him addressing his longtime viewers about the exit. But Fox said Wednesday that wouldn’t happen.

O’Reilly is also one of the country’s most popular nonfiction authors. The books in his “Killing” historical series, including “Killing Lincoln” and “Killing Reagan,” have consistently sold 1 million or more copies in hardcover, a rare achievement in publishing, and his platform on Fox enabled him to promote his work. He has also had best-sellers with everything from the memoir “A Bold Fresh Piece of Humanity” to his most recent work, “Old School,” which includes passages urging the respectful treatment of women.

O’Reilly and co-author Martin Dugard are due to release another book in the “Killing” series in September, and a spokeswoman for publisher Henry Holt and Co. said that plans had not changed.

Vatican spokesman Greg Burke confirmed O’Reilly was in the VIP section for the pope’s Wednesday appearance. Burke, a former Fox News correspondent in Rome, denied having facilitated the tickets. Such tickets can be obtained via special request to the papal household from embassies, high-ranking churchmen or Vatican officials.

Francis always swings by the VIP seats at the end of his audience for a quick round of handshakes. A photographer from the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano snapped a photo of Francis reaching out to shake his hand.

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(Photo: AP)

24 thoughts on “Bill O’Reilly Out At Fox News Channel After 20 Years

  1. Would it be OK if I cross-posted this article to WriterBeat.com? I’ll be sure to fgive you complete credit as the author. There is no fee, I’m simply trying to add more content diversity for our community and I liked what you wrote. If “OK” please let me know via email.

    Autumn
    AutumnCote@WriterBeat.com

  2. Diane on said:

    After watching all his disparaging comments towards the blk community. The mo fo was a big ass hypocrite. He was no better than any drug dealer or women who had a child out of wedlock. F bill oreally.

    • jhuff on said:

      But a lot richer I was just watching FOX news they were reporting on the terrorist shooting in France today I Ditto for CNN meanwhile MesNBC is rehashing some old bullsh!t about trump no wonder that network is tanking, way to keep the morons up to date on current events

      • Diane on said:

        I can’t wait to see Lawrence odonelle tonite. I love to watch him go all in on the trumpster and his total incompetence and incoherence. Go Lawrence, go!!!!!!!!!

  3. Wheres the humiliaton & embarrasment like you did Bill Cosby?? Wheres the outrage?? Where are all these women groups?? Ohhhhhh I forgot………………

  4. RENO2AC on said:

    I’ve learned that sometimes those who “shout” the loudest are usually the ones with the most skeltons in the closet.

  5. specialt757 on said:

    Well I’ll say this, this type behavior was the network’s culture. It’s not enough to fire these top execs and high money producers, you have to restructure your whole company and that should be Fox News’ mission, to have a zero tolerance policy for harassments of ANY type. People shouldn’t be made to feel they have to tolerate uncomfortable-ness because no one cares how they feel or they fear losing their jobs.
    They’ve lost talented people who’ve either worked for them or wouldn’t work for them because of the “sex” culture that was allowed to permeate company wide. Calling a black woman “hot chocolate” in the workplace and you’re and old white man, is anything but appropriate. If they don’t make a complete overhaul of company policy, they will find themselves in similar situations (settling mega lawsuits) going forward. Good riddance B.O., aint it funny how things work’s? Luda didn’t have to do one thing to retaliate, he left that to the Higher Power.

    • Not to mention all the women who were intimidated into leaving their jobs, while the POS keep on working. I think he had a fondness for sistas too

  6. Sarah on said:

    He judged so many people who was/is famous about their accusations and issues but and now look who happen to be the worst (and true) Old Bill. It never fails.

  7. Arthur Childress on said:

    The Klan is not going to take this sitting down! Expect a record number of cross burnings over the next few nights! Not to mention all of the many Oreilly viewers who will now be returning their TVs to the local Rent-A-Center.

      • jhuff on said:

        BTW AC your forgetting your own rhetoric, according to you libtards FOX demographics are old rich white ppl so all the poor uneducated welfare recipients should be watching Mis-Lead-NBC
        on their soon to be repossessed RAC TV sets, but considering that networks low ratings looks like most of the viewers sets have been hawked for bail money

    • jhuff on said:

      well as usual your wrong however there are a number of conservatives not as popular but will suffice Dana Perino who’s been filling in for him has garnered the highest ratings

      • Diane on said:

        Who gives a f**k. Take your ass somewhere and go watch that s**t. U watch what you want. We will watch what we want, simpleton!!!!!

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