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21st Century Fox has confirmed that Bill O’Reilly, star anchor of its Fox News Channel, will not be returning to the network after the conclusion of a pre-planned holiday.
In a Statement, the company said: “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.”
The Wall Street Journal had earlier reported that Fox News was “ready to cut ties” with O’ Reilly after a number of women accused him of sexual harassment.
The New York Times revealed in April that five women had received payouts from parent company 21st Century Fox for not pursuing legal proceedings over alleged harassment. According to the NYT publication, $13 million (€12.12m) was paid.
Since the allegations, at least 44 companies have pulled their ads from airing during his show and this week women’s rights groups stood outside Fox News in New York to protest and call for his resignation or firing.
The journalist has been with Fox News for over 20 years and his show The O’Reilly Factor has been the most-watched cable news show for 16 years — it averaged 3.3 million viewers a night last year.
O’Reilly has been on a pre-planned holiday since April 11th and was scheduled to return on April 24th.
The broadcaster had received the backing of one of his biggest fans – President Trump – but Fox has no doubt been weighing the negative impact on its image with women, the damage to advertising sales, wanting the matter settled before it faces ‘fit and proper’ tests in reference to its agreed takeover of Sky.