Bill O’Reilly has been forced out of his position as a prime-time host on Fox News, the company said on Wednesday, after the disclosure of multiple settlements involving sexual harassment allegations against him. His ouster brings an abrupt and embarrassing end to his two-decade reign as one of the most popular and influential commentators in television.
“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,” 21st Century Fox, Fox News’s parent company, said in a statement.
Mr. O’Reilly’s departure comes two and a half weeks after an investigation by The New York Times revealed how Fox News and 21st Century Fox had repeatedly stood by Mr. O’Reilly even as sexual harassment allegations piled up against him. The Times found that the company and Mr. O’Reilly reached settlements with five women who had complained about sexual harassment or other inappropriate behavior by him. The agreements totaled about $13 million.
I think O’Reilly deserved this, though I’m sorry to see it. Deserved it, because sexual harassment is a big deal. The record O’Reilly has established on that front demonstrated abuse of power. It is always good to see the powerful held to account for their behavior. O’Reilly treated some women like dirt. And lest you think that it was just an older guy being a little too aggressive in an office culture run by feminazis, read this.
I am sorry to see it, because it’s sad to see O’Reilly end his extraordinary career on such a shameful note. Love him or hate him, what Bill O’Reilly accomplished at Fox over the last two decades is one of the more remarkable feats in broadcasting. Lots of cable hosts have come and gone, but O’Reilly has stayed on top. And at his best, he was brilliant at puncturing p.c. pomposity.
But he and he alone is the cause of his own ignominious defeat. No man is above the moral law.
I see that Tucker Carlson’s show will be moving to O’Reilly’s slot. Good.