Out at Fox, Bill O'Reilly denies harassment claims

Richard Drew AP File

Richard Drew AP File

FILE - In this October 1, 2015 file photo, host Bill O'Reilly of "The O'Reilly Factor" on the Fox News Channel, poses for photos in the set in NY. The agreements totaled about $13 million. "But the cost became too high when advertisers pulled out in droves and Fox's credibility took another major hit".

O'Reilly's exit, which was first reported by NY magazine, follows that of former Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes, who was forced to resign in July after being accused of sexual misconduct by a number of women, including former anchor Gretchen Carlson.

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"I understand how hard this has been for many of you", Rupert Murdoch said in the memo. After the dismissal of Ailes, the company struck two settlements involving sexual harassment complaints against O'Reilly and extended his contract.

The New York Times reports that an African-American woman - who remains anonymous - came forward this week with allegations of her own, saying O'Reilly would at various times grunt like a "wild boar" at her desk, leer at her and refer to her as "hot chocolate". New York Magazine, citing unidentified sources, reported Tuesday that 21st Century Fox Executive Chairman Rupert Murdoch is supporting O'Reilly's return while his sons, Chief Executive James Murdoch and Chief Operating Officer Lachlan Murdoch, want the combative commentator out.

While O'Reilly hasn't responded publicly to the latest allegation, he has said generally that the allegations against him are completely "unfounded". O'Reilly's success at appealing to like-minded viewers made him and Fox into cable news leaders.

Yet his ratings did not seem to suffer, still easily hovering at the top of the cable news landscape even amid the poor press.

His departure is a significant blow to Fox News, which has dominated the prime-time cable news ratings in recent years.

O'Reilly will be succeeded in the 8 p.m.

"The Five" will be replaced at 5 p.m. EDT by a one-hour program hosted by Eric Bolling, to debut May 1.

But the departure of advertisers, wary of being associated with "The O'Reilly Factor", sealed his fate as the Murdoch family, who owns parent company 21st Century Fox, battles to keep a lid on reports of harassment at the channel and eyes up a powerful merger in Britain.

O'Reilly said in an April 1 statement that he had been unfairly targeted because of his public prominence. "I wish only the best for Fox News Channel".

"This decision follows an extensive review done in collaboration with outside counsel".

During an appearance on Fox News' newly-branded "The Factor", former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee use a poorly-timed analogy to describe Donald Trump's apparent inability to "get a fair shake from the media", comparing it with one's inability to "kiss a woman leaning away from you".

Kelly was also one of the accusers and detailed Ailes' behavior in her best-selling book, "Settle for More".

She reported that in late 2007, O'Reilly told her in the makeup room that she should show more cleavage.

"Bill O'Reilly proved 'no, the anchor is the star.' Nobody watched Bill O'Reilly's show to find out what was happening".

"He would never talk to her, not even hello, except to grunt at her like a wild boar". "I'm sure the oak tree said some disturbing things about young black men with their rap music and their neck tattoos, but damn it the tree had been there forever".

"I don't think that these comments were focused from a sexual standpoint", Greene said.

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