We obtained the memo Rupert Murdoch sent to staff on Wednesday announcing 21st Century Fox had reached a decision to cut loose Fox News Channel’s biggest star, Bill O’Reilly, ending the primetime host’s 21-year run on the network:
I would like to address questions about Bill O’Reilly’s future at Fox News. 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.
This decision follows an extensive review done in collaboration with outside counsel.
By ratings standards, Bill O’Reilly is one of the most accomplished TV personalities in the history of cable news. In fact, his success by any measure is indisputable. Fox News has demonstrated again and again the strength of its talent bench. We have full confidence that the network will continue to be a powerhouse in cable news. Please see attached for our new programming line-up.
Most importantly, we want to underscore our consistent commitment to fostering a work environment built on the values of trust and respect.
I understand how difficult this has been for many of you. Thank you for your hard work, patience, and for the great job you all do delivering news and opinion to millions of Americans whose trust you earn every day. I look forward to even more success in the coming years.
Wednesday’s stunning announcement, removing the host of Fox New Channel’s flagship program The O’Reilly Factor, came in the wake of an April 1 New York Times report that O’Reilly and FNC paid nearly $13M to settle cases with five women going back 15 years. Since that report, two more women have publicly claimed O’Reilly harassed them years ago.
Pressure built to cut O’Reilly when dozens advertisers pulled their spots from The Factor after that NYT report. The latest tally of advertisers stood at 90. The dump-O’Reilly drumbeat grew deafeningly loud late Tuesday when Fox News Channel stopped assuring he would be back on-air this coming Monday. He’s been off the air since April 11, when he announced he taking a vacation, as he had at this time last year.