Bill O’Reilly is leaving the Fox News Channel, the network’s parent company has announced.
The star host has been dogged by misconduct claims — some sexual in nature — since an April 1 story in The New York Times detailed alleged settlements made between the host and five women who accused him of harassment and sexual misconduct.
“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 on Wednesday, April 19, 2017.
An internal 21st Century Fox memo obtained by ABC News said that the “decision follows an extensive review done in collaboration with outside counsel.” The memo was signed by Rupert, Lachlan and James Murdoch, the company’s top executives.
“We want to underscore our consistent commitment to fostering a work environment built on the values of trust and respect,” the memo concluded.
Commenting on the news, O’Reilly said, “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.”
Earlier in April, 21st Century Fox enlisted the prominent law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison to probe at least one complaint against O’Reilly.
“21st Century Fox investigates all complaints, and we have asked the law firm Paul, Weiss to continue assisting the company in these serious matters,” a 21st Century Fox spokesman said at the time.
Scores of advertisers pulled their spots from his top-rated show, “The O’Reilly Factor,” in the days after the publication of the Times story.
ABC News has not been able to independently verify the claims made in it.
In the internal memo, the Murdochs praised O’Reilly, saying, “By ratings standards, Bill O’Reilly is one of the most accomplished TV personalities in the history of cable news. In fact, his success by any measure is indisputable.”
Kantar Media, a market research firm, said in early April that “The O’Reilly Factor” pulled in more revenue than any other show on Fox News or its main competitors CNN and MSNBC. In 2015, “The Factor” brought in some $126 million, Kantar said.
Fox News Channel released a statement on Wednesday announcing its new prime-time lineup in the wake of O’Reilly’s departure.
Read more at ABC News.