Network executives were preparing to announce Bill O’Reilly’s departure from Fox amid sexual harassment complaints against the conservative talk-show host, New York Magazine reported Wednesday.
O’Reilly’s exit could come before his scheduled return from an Italian vacation on Monday, the magazine said, citing unidentified sources who were briefed on these discussions. Indeed, later Wednesday, 21st Century Fox announced that O’Reilly was out at Fox News.
Fox executives held “emergency meetings” Wednesday morning to discuss how they can end their relationship with O’Reilly, a 21-year veteran of the network, without causing collateral damage, the sources told the magazine.
The board of Fox News’ parent company, 21st Century Fox, was also reportedly scheduled to meet on Thursday to further discuss the matter, The New York Times reported.
The sources told New York Magazine that O’Reilly’s “exit negotiations” moved swiftly.
The sources said Fox executives are leaning against allowing O’Reilly to have a
Fox did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Fox and O’Reilly have paid $13 million to five women who accused him of sexual harassment, according to the Times.
In the wake of complaints, O’Reilly has seen numerous companies pull their ads from his top-rated public affairs show this month.
“21st Century Fox investigates all complaints and we have asked the law firm Paul Weiss to continue assisting the company in these serious matters,” the company said in a statement.
O’Reilly’s lawyer, Marc E. Kasowitz, told the Times the Fox host is the victim of a “smear campaign … orchestrated by far-left organizations bent on destroying O’Reilly for political and financial reasons.”
Read the full report from New York Magazine’s Daily Intelligence.