After being fired for an alleged pattern of sexual harassment among Fox News' female employees, Bill O'Reilly said in a statement, "It is tremendously disheartening that we part ways due to completely unfounded claims. But that is the unfortunate reality many of us in the public eye must live with today."
Fox News had apparently renewed its contract with O'Reilly recently, in spite of settling sexual harassment allegations from five women for $13 million. However, the revelations of the settlements has led to organized protests questioning the culture at Fox News—already reeling from the ouster of founder Roger Ailes from his own sexual harassment scandal—and, then, dozens of advertisers fleeing O'Reilly's program.
O'Reilly went on what he called a previously planned vacation last week; while he was still away, 21st Century Fox, Fox News Channel's parent company, announced his termination yesterday. According to CNN Money, "Bill O'Reilly will be paid tens of millions of dollars on his way out of Fox News. 'It is a staggering amount,' said a source personally involved in the exit maneuverings 21st Century Fox and O'Reilly's representatives will not acknowledge the existence of a payout. A confidentiality agreement limits what the two sides can say. But two well-placed sources confirmed to CNNMoney that O'Reilly does have a parachute. That's because O'Reilly signed a new contract right before being ousted."
However, the payout may not be the biggest thing on 21st Century Fox executives' minds—Vanity Fair reports:
The most unsettling feeling among some at Fox News, however, is that Wednesday’s events are only the beginning. “There’s more to come,” one Fox News insider told me, suggesting that there are more women with stories of harassment who have not come forward publicly. This estimation was affirmed by two people who heard such stories directly. Others are equally concerned about the attention that is being drawn to 21st Century Fox’s handling of the allegations by women inside the company.
Fox News co-host Dana Perino told viewers last night that O'Reilly was off the air, "It is the end of an era here at the Fox News Channel. As we mentioned earlier, Bill O’Reilly is leaving this chair and this network after more than 20 years. Bill has been the undisputed king of cable news—and for good reason,” Perino said. “He is an incredibly talented broadcaster who raised the bar for interviewers everywhere. He has also held his staff to exacting standards in his quest to put the best possible program on the air, and they are great."
Variety has a look at Color of Change, the non-profit heavily involved with influencing advertisers to re-consider their advertising on O'Reilly's program: "Color of Change knew who to target and how best to reach 'O’Reilly Factor' advertisers like Mercedes-Benz because of its 2015 campaign against the show. Color of Change members were outraged by what the org termed O’Reilly’s 'fabricated' on-air comments about being attacked by black people while he was covering the Los Angeles riots in 1992."
Color of Change's executive director Rashad Robinson said, "The settlements were particularly challenging for any corporate advertiser to defend. We asked them ‘Would they allow their own employees to get away with that?’ We said that the money they were paying for ‘O’Reilly Factor’ ads was actually paying for these settlements. It was hard for corporations to defend."
Here's O'Reilly's full statement, which was released yesterday when he was traveling back from Italy:
Over the past 20 years at Fox News, I have been extremely proud to launch and lead sone of the most successful news programs in history, which has consistently informed and entertained millions of Americans and significantly contributed to building Fox into the dominant news network in television. It is tremendously disheartening that we part ways due to completely unfounded claims. But that is the unfortunate reality many of us in the public eye must live with today. I will always look back on my time at Fox with great pride in the unprecedented success we achieved and with my deepest gratitude to all my dedicated viewers. I wish only the best for the Fox News Channel.