“Over the past 20 years at Fox News, I have been extremely proud to launch and lead one of the most successful news programs in history, which has consistently informed and entertained millions of Americans and significantly contributed to building Fox into the dominant news network in television,” he said. “It is tremendously disheartening that we part ways due to completely unfounded claims.
.. The company and O’Reilly paid out $15 million in exchange for his accusers’ silence.
.. But the prospect that his accusers — bound by non-disclosure agreements as a result of their settlements — wouldn’t speak in anything but general terms led the company to believe it could weather the Times story.
.. In fact, it was a sixth accuser — a former guest on O’Reilly’s program named Wendy Walsh — who may have been the key to his unraveling. Unlike the women who received settlements for their complaints, Walsh never sued or settled with O’Reilly, leaving her free to speak in public about her allegations. She did so repeatedly, putting a name, face and voice to the allegations in media accounts.
.. On Tuesday, another woman came forward, anonymously, to complain that she had been harrassed with racial and sexual comment by O’Reilly in 2008.
.. The network, however, continued to roll in record ratings, driven in part by viewer interest in Donald Trump, a longtime friend of Ailes, Murdoch and O’Reilly and a frequent interview guest on Fox programs ..
.. “The O’Reilly Factor” has been the network’s flagship show for nearly 20 years, and in many ways has embodied its conservative-oriented spirit.
.. drew an average of 4 million viewers each night during the first three months of the year, the most ever for a cable-news program.
.. intense media coverage surrounding O’Reilly led to a stampede of advertisers away from O’Reilly’s program, leaving it almost without sponsorship over the past two weeks.
.. The O’Reilly controversy has been casting a shadow over 21st Century’s $14 billion bid to win the British government’s approval to buy Sky TV, the British satellite service. Leaving O’Reilly in place would likely have been a public-relations nightmare
.. The Murdoch family abandoned a 2011 offer for Sky amid another scandal, the phone-hacking conspiracy perpetrated by employees of the Murdoch-owned News of the World tabloid in London.
.. Since the Ailes scandal erupted, the company has continued to employ almost all of the senior managers who were in charge when Ailes was allegedly harassing employees, including Bill Shine, currently Fox’s co-president. Shine was accused of enabling Ailes’s retaliatory efforts against an accuser, Fox contributor Julie Roginsky