However, sources claim the new reports of Fox News' hefty severance package for O'Reilly have aroused suspicions from several parties that the removal of the host was more a means to pacify the public than an assertion of guilt.
During the Today show's extensive coverage on Thursday of Bill O'Reilly leaving Fox News over sexual harassment allegations, the NBC morning program used the controversy to resurrect the unsubstantiated 1991 smear campaign against then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas.
While Rupert Murdoch, executive chairman of 21st Century Fox, was reportedly in favor of keeping O'Reilly, his sons, James and Lachlan, argued it was time for him to go. "But thank God it stopped now with Bill O'Reilly at Fox". But at 21st Century Fox, owner of Fox News, it was seen as a dilemma. In a memo to employees, the senior Murdoch paid respect to O'Reilly's success, but said the company was committed "to fostering a work environment built on the values of respect and trust".
The ratings impact of Bill O'Reilly's firing will be measured over months, not days. The company ousted Ailes a year ago and agreed to settle lawsuits brought by former anchor Gretchen Carlson and other female employees. We have full confidence that the network will continue to be a powerhouse in cable news.
But two well-placed sources told CNN Money that O'Reilly will be paid handsomely as he leaves the network, primarily because he signed a new contract in March. Allegedly, after hearing of the investigation into claims against O'Reilly, the contract was, however, reworked to include a way out for Fox if necessary.
His departure follows the similar ouster of longtime powerful Fox News CEO Roger Ailes, who was also forced out this past summer after more than 20 women accused him of sexual harassment. The company parted ways with the 76-year-old for a cool $40 million.