From the April 19 edition of Fox News’ Special Report with Bret Baier:
BRET BAIER (HOST): You may have already heard, there are some major changes coming to the programming lineup here at Fox News channel. Bill O'Reilly is leaving as of today after what our parent company, 21st Century Fox, called an extensive review of sexual harassment allegations against him, allegations that O'Reilly again today called completely unfounded. The decision was announced this afternoon by Rupert, James, and Lachlan Murdoch. Fox News media analyst and host of Fox News’ MediaBuzz Howard Kurtz is here with details. Good evening, Howie.
HOWARD KURTZ: Good evening, Bret. Bill O'Reilly, the biggest star in the 20-year history of Fox News, is leaving the network in the wake of mounting allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate conduct. The news came this afternoon in a terse statement from 21st Century Fox, the network’s parent company, saying that after a thorough and careful review of the allegations, the company and O’Reilly have agreed that he will not be returning. O'Reilly, the top rated host in cable news, is known for his combative, sometimes confrontational style.
KURTZ: And a cordial relationship with President Trump. But the climate shifted dramatically after an April 1st New York Times report that O'Reilly or Fox had paid $13 million over the years to settle five cases alleging sexual or other harassment on his part. More than 50 companies pulled their advertising from his show.
O'Reilly, whose lawyer has accused far-left groups of engaging in a smear campaign, met with Pope Francis today while on vacation. 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.” O'Reilly's ouster comes nine months after the forced resignation of former chairman Roger Ailes, who several women accused of sexual harassment allegations that he denied. Rupert Murdoch and his sons, James and Lachlan, have emphasized changing the company’s culture, so any form of harassment is unacceptable. For that reason, some female employees were uncomfortable with O’Reilly staying on, and pressure escalated once the company asked a law firm to examine the allegations.