World

Fox sacks star O'Reilly after sexual harassment allegations, finally

NEW YORK Twenty-First Century Fox Inc has fired star cable news host Bill O'Reilly following allegations of sexual harassment, the company said yesterday.

"After a thorough and careful review of the allegations, the company and Bill O'Reilly have agreed that Bill O'Reilly will not be returning to the Fox News Channel," the conservative network's parent said.

The decision, coming after advertisers had begun to flee his show, ends a more than 20-year career at Fox News for Mr O'Reilly, a best-selling author and one of the most popular commentators on US television.

In an internal memo to Fox News employees, executive chairman Rupert Murdoch called him "one of the most accomplished TV personalities in the history of cable news".

Mr O'Reilly, who has been on holiday since April 11, said in a written statement he was proud of the "unprecedented success" at Fox, and it is "tremendously disheartening that we part ways due to completely unfounded claims". He added: "But that is the unfortunate reality many of us in the public eye must live with today."

CNN, quoting sources, reported that Mr O'Reilly will be paid "tens of millions of dollars" as part of his exit. This is supposedly because Mr O'Reilly had signed a new contract right before being fired.

The New York Times reported on April 1 that Fox and O'Reilly had paid five women a total of US$13 million (S$18m) to settle harassment claims.

The women either worked for O'Reilly or appeared as guests on his programme.

The O'Reilly Factor brought in US$147.13 million in advertising revenue last year. - REUTERS

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