Hours after an African-American Fox News clerical worker claimed Bill O’Reilly leered at her and called her “hot chocolate,” Fox News severed ties with O’Reilly.
O’Reilly was already on thin ice after a report by the New York Times revealed the cable network paid $13 million in legal settlements to women who alleged the news anchorman sexually harassed and verbally abused them.
After the article was published, O’Reilly’s eponymous nightly program lost a plethora of advertisers. While The O’Reilly Factor is the highest-rated program on cable news, there have been calls for his resignation or firing across the nation.
“A final decision on Mr. O’Reilly’s fate could come as early as the next several days,” according to the Wall Street Journal. Rupert Murdoch owns the reputable publication.
New York magazine’s Gabriel Sherman reported Tuesday that “the Murdochs are leaning toward announcing that O’Reilly will not return to the air.” He cited “three sources with knowledge of the discussions” and said, “no final decision has been made.”
Murdoch turned the management of 21st Century Fox — Fox News’ parent company — over to his sons Lachlan and James about a year ago. It’s been reported that the brothers are split in deciding how to move forward with O’Reilly.
O’Reilly is currently in Italy and is set to return stateside next week. The network said his vacation time was scheduled before the allegations made its way into the headlines.
An attorney for Bill O’Reilly, Marc E. Kasowitz, responded to the latest allegations with a statement to CNN that read: “It is outrageous that an allegation from an anonymous person about something that purportedly happened a decade ago is being treated as fact, especially when there is an obviously orchestrated campaign by activists and lawyers to destroy Mr. O’Reilly and enrich themselves through publicity driven donations.”
Fox Network was been marred by sexual harassment allegations last summer when reports began to surface that then-Fox News co-founder, Roger Ailes sexually harassed several women, most notably Megyn Kelly and Gretchen Carlson.
Ailes was given the ax.