Fox News anchor Bill O'Reilly, one of the America's most popular hosts, will not be returning to air, 21st Century Fox has announced, ending weeks of speculation about his fate in the wake of allegations against him. (more)
"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 brief statement, providing no further details.
Dozens of advertisers abandoned O'Reilly's show, "The O'Reilly Factor," in response to public pressure over a New York Times article that revealed settlements with women who accused him of harassment, even though O'Reilly has strongly denied the claims.
"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," O'Reilly said in a statement, in which he also expressed his "deepest gratitude" to his viewers.
An internal email sent by the Murdoch family - which controls 21st Century Fox - provided no further details about the company's decision to part ways with O'Reilly, but they praised the host for his accomplishments.
"By ratings standards, Bill O'Reilly is one of the most accomplished TV personalities in the history of cable news," the family said in the email, which was sent to Fox News employees. "In fact, his success by any measure is indisputable."
Nonetheless, the Murdochs are confident that Fox News will continue to be a "powerhouse" in cable news. "And most importantly, we want to underscore our consistent commitment to fostering a work environment built on the values of trust and respect," they added.
The allegations against O'Reilly did not affect his ratings and the host remained mostly silent for several weeks. In a statement released on Tuesday, O'Reilly's attorney had claimed to have obtained "irrefutable" evidence that the campaign against him was being orchestrated by "far-left organizations."
As a result of O'Reilly's departure, Fox News will air Tucker Carlson’s show an hour earlier, in O’Reilly’s 8 p.m. ET slot, and move the "The Five" from 5 to 9 p.m. On May 1, “Five” member Eric Bolling will debut a one-hour program at 5 p.m., and Martha MacCallum will make her “First 100 Days” show permanent at 7 p.m.