Embattled Fox News host Bill O’Reilly announced tonight that he is taking a vacation. O’Reilly’s decision to go off the air in the midst of a sexual harassment scandal and advertiser boycott arguably has the appearance of a suspension, but O’Reilly worked to dispel that notion. He announced that he’d scheduled his trip “last fall” — well before the New York Times reported he paid $13 million to settle harassment claims. A Fox News spokesperson confirmed O’Reilly will return on April 24.
But according to four network sources, there’s talk inside Fox News that tonight’s show could be his last. Lawyers for the law firm Paul, Weiss, hired last summer by 21st Century Fox to investigate Roger Ailes, are currently doing a “deep dive” investigation into O’Reilly’s behavior. They’re focused now on sexual harassment claims by O’Reilly guest Wendy Walsh after she reported her claims via the company’s anonymous hotline.
Bill O'Reilly's troubles could be forcing 21st Century Fox's (FOXA) Fox News to get rid of the embattled star, despite his status as the network's top money-maker. That's according to a story this week in New York Magazine, citing sources close to the matter; at least one institutional investor in Fox has also called for the media giant to deal with the situation decisively.
The face of Fox's most popular show told viewers during Tuesday night's episode of "The O'Reilly Factor" that he would be going on a pre-planned vacation, prompting many to question what that might mean for his future on the conservative-leaning news network. A Fox News spokesperson told New York Magazine that O'Reilly would return on April 24. O'Reilly said on the air Tuesday that he'd been planning the trip since last fall.
The New York Times is reporting tonight that Bill O’Reilly was one of multiple factors that led to Megyn Kelly‘s decision to leave Fox News.
You may remember that back in November, after Kelly’s book Settle for More came out, O’Reilly was asked about the details within and he responded, “I’m not interested in basically litigating something that is finished that makes my network look bad, okay? I’m not interested in making my network look bad at all. That doesn’t interest me one bit.”
The next day Kelly responded by saying she spoke to Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch before writing about the sexual harassment she experienced in her book, adding, “I think Roger Ailes is making the company look bad.”
Fox News Channel this afternoon stopped assuring that O’Reilly will be returning to its air on Monday, as Drudge Report founder Matt Drudge took to Twitter to fete the news channel’s biggest star’s “tremendous run.”
Preliminary exit talks have begun, reports CNN, which has been covering its competitor’s internecine drama aggressively. Its media pundit Brian Stelter reported on air earlier this evening that no final decision had been made.