Bill O'Reilly out at Fox News amid sex harassment allegations

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/bill-o-reilly-fox-news-sex-ha
BYDon Kaplan
Updated: Wednesday, April 19, 2017, 11:56 PM
Bill O'Reilly has served as the host of Fox News Channel’s "The O'Reilly Factor" since the late 1990s.

Welcome to the “No Sin Zone.”

Bill O’Reilly, the bellicose front man at the Fox News Channel for 21 lucrative years, received a pink slip Wednesday after a company probe into allegations that he sexually harassed female co-workers.

The firing came in a terse three-paragraph announcement citing “an extensive review” of O’Reilly’s behavior by Fox with the aid of an independent attorney.

Not even the naughty newsman’s long friendship with Fox News czar Rupert Murdoch was enough to spare O’Reilly the ax.

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“After a thorough and careful review of allegations against him, the company and Bill O’Reilly have agreed that Mr. O’Reilly will not return to the Fox News Channel,” read a memo from media kingpin Murdoch and his two sons, Lachlan and James.

O’Reilly departs just nine months after his old boss and fellow accused sexual predator Roger Ailes was shown the door by the Murdochs.

The unrepentant prime time host left with his head held high, denying any sexual misconduct to the bitter end.

Bill O'Reilly has served as the host of Fox News Channel’s "The O'Reilly Factor" since the late 1990s.

(BRENDAN MCDERMID/REUTERS)

“Over the past 20 years at Fox News, I have been extremely proud to launch and lead one of the most successful news programs in history,” O’Reilly said in a statement.

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“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.”

The 67-year-old O’Reilly, a financial and ratings powerhouse for the station, was submarined as much by fleeing advertisers as by allegations of his raunchy behavior.

More than 50 sponsors quit on “The O’Reilly Factor” in recent weeks, while protesters outside the Fox News headquarters in Midtown demanded his firing.

The New York Times, in a devastating takedown of O’Reilly published April 1, reported he and Fox had paid $13 million in hush money to five of his accusers. The quintet charged the Fox News star with sexual harassment or other inappropriate behavior.

New accuser claims Bill O'Reilly called her 'hot chocolate'

O’Reilly’s inappropriate antics dated back to 2004, when a lawsuit that went public accused him of trying to coerce a Fox News associate producer into phone sex.

Front page of the New York Daily News for April 20, 2017: Bill O�Reilly, the front man at the Fox News Channel for 21 lucrative years, has been fired after a company probe into allegations that he sexually harassed female co-workers. NO JOB ZONE

(New York Daily News)

And the allegations kept coming: On the day before he was booted, a black colleague said a leering O’Reilly shamelessly ogled her cleavage and nicknamed her “Hot Chocolate.”

Earlier this month, former Fox News guest Wendy Walsh accused the controversial and frequently condescending host with propositioning her at a Los Angeles hotel bar more than four years ago.

Walsh said that after her rejection, O’Reilly retaliated by taking an offer for a contributor job off the table.

The Irish-Catholic O’Reilly, before the firing, was bizarrely photographed shaking hands with Pope Francis in Rome while taking a vacation that now has no end.

He was initially expected back on the air next Monday. Instead, veteran talking head Tucker Carlson will take his seat on that day.

O’Reilly’s name was scrubbed from his former show Wednesday, which aired as “The Factor.”

A protester on Wednesday holds signs calling O'Reilly a sexual predator outside Fox News Channel's headquarters in the NewsCorp Building.

(Howard Simmons/New York Daily News)

The Murdochs refused to kick O’Reilly on his way out the door, describing him as “one of the most accomplished TV personalities in the history of cable news.”

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Fox News is now reportedly on the hook for at least $40 million to cover O’Reilly’s most recent contract, signed only a few months ago. He earns about $20 million a year, according to sources.

Attorney Lisa Bloom, who represented Walsh and the unidentified black complainant, ripped O’Reilly for dismissing the charges as bogus.

“If they were unfounded, then why were there recordings and $13 million paid?” asked Bloom. “I mean, come on. Why did his own employer — who’s been economically motivated to keep him — end its review with him being fired?”

The conservative O’Reilly has long been a favorite of Fox News founder Rupert Murdoch. But sons James and Lachlan, now top executives at Fox News’ parent company, 21st Century Fox, leaned on their dad to dump the talk show host.

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The pair, in their efforts to steer Fox News clear of its toxic workplace history, were instrumental in convincing Rupert to jettison Ailes last year.

Protesters stand outside Fox News headquarters on Tuesday calling on the network to fire Bill O'Reilly.

(Andrew Savulich/New York Daily News)

“The departure of Bill O’Reilly is an important next step to clean up Fox News and make it a respectful and professional work environment,” said attorney Nancy Erika Smith, who repped one of Ailes’ accusers, former Fox anchor Gretchen Carlson.

Some of O’Reilly’s old colleagues still had his back. Ex-Fox News favorite Glenn Beck called on his radio show listeners to write or call Fox News.

“Tell them, ‘You can lose your advertisers or you can lose your viewers,’” said Beck. “But you have to put some spine back into the Murdoch family and the Fox News Channel board, because you are about to lose Bill O’Reilly.”

Megyn Kelly complained about O'Reilly before leaving Fox News

Two weeks ago, President Trump defended O’Reilly, who had used his show to boost the White House: “I think he’s a person I know well — he is a good person,” Trump told the Times.

The allegations that undermined O’Reilly’s career at Fox News are far from the first time the talk show host has come under fire.

In 2004, The Smoking Gun website published the salacious text of a sexual harassment complaint against O’Reilly filed by Fox associate producer Andrea Mackris.

NYC, meet us at 1:30 outside of Fox HQ on 47th and 6th today and demand they #DropOReilly! #NotYourHotChocolate pic.twitter.com/m21vdoVenn

— ColorOfChange.org (@ColorOfChange) April 19, 2017

That lawsuit, settled in 2004 for $9 million, included a recording of O’Reilly trying to entice Mackris into phone sex by promises to rub her down with a “falafel” — although he had meant to use the word “loofah.”

Attorney for O'Reilly accuser wants Fox News' workplace probed

O’Reilly also weathered several disturbing revelations stemming from his 2010 split from his wife, Maureen McPhilmy.

During the custody lawsuit, O’Reilly’s daughter testified watching O’Reilly choke her mother and drag her down the stairs.

In 2016, a panel of three appellate justices unanimously granted McPhilmy residential custody of the couple’s two children.

O’Reilly is unlikely to find himself short of cash. He is the author of the hugely successful “Killing” series of historical books about historic figures, with the next book due in September.

His latest book, “Old School,” became an instant best-seller — and included O’Reilly advocating for the gentlemanly treatment of women.

“No means no,” the accused groper wrote, urging his fellow men to remember “the old school tenets of respect and responsibility.”

With

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