Bill O’Reilly’s “vacation” from Fox News just might become permanent, according to reports by CNN and New York magazine.
CNN, citing “a well-placed source,” reported that representatives for the cable news network and O’Reilly are in talks “about an exit.” Also, New York magazine cited three sources who said that the Murdoch family is leaning toward announcing that O’Reilly will not return to the air. Sons James and Lachlan have insisted that O’Reilly should be fired, say these sources, although their father, Rupert, has thus far balked at making that decision.
O’Reilly recently embarked on a two-week vacation from his prime-time program, “The O’Reilly Factor.” At the time, speculation raged that the controversial host may have anchored his final installment of the show. As of Tuesday, six days remained in O’Reilly’s vacation.
The Wall Street Journal, citing people close to the situation, reported on Tuesday that Fox News is preparing to cut ties with The O’Reilly Factor host. The decision to move away from O’Reilly could “come as early as the next several days,” according to the publication.
Talks of an O’Reilly exit come as public pressure against the TV personality mounts in the wake of a New York Times report detailing $13 million paid to five women to settle sexual harassment claims. Skittish advertisers have been fleeing “The O’Reilly Factor” in droves and activists have launched spirited protests outside Fox News headquarters in New York.
The New York magazine report claimed that Fox News executives are “alarmed” by the severity of the ad-revenue decline. “It’s worse than Glenn Beck,” a source said, referring to the advertiser revolt that helped derail Beck’s Fox News career in 2011.
According to one Fox source, Rupert has told people he does not want to fire O’Reilly because it would appear that he was forced into the decision by “the New York Times.”
On Tuesday, victims of sexual assault and harassment, as well as members from the women’s advocacy group Ultra violet, called for Fox to fire O’Reilly. Planes flew overhead with banners attached that read, “FOX: #DROPOREILLY, THE SEXUAL PREDATOR.”
Also on Tuesday, a report of another past sexual harassment allegation against O’Reilly surfaced. According to attorney Lisa Bloom, she represented an African-American Fox News clerical worker who said O’Reilly used to leer at her called her “hot chocolate.”
“He would never talk to her, not even hello, except to grunt at her like a wild boar,” Bloom told The Hollywood Reporter. “He would leer at her. He would always do this when no one else was around and she was scared.”
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