Bill O’Reilly may be on his way out of Fox News amid sex harassment scandal: reports
O’Reilly’s future at the network is set to be discussed at a 21st Century Fox board meeting on Thursday, where one of the items on the agenda is an investigation into his actions by law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton and Garrison, The New York Times reported Tuesday.
WATCH: Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly accused of sexual harassing former guest
The Times added that O’Reilly’s support from the Murdoch family, which owns 21 Century Fox, appeared to be waning.
NPR reporter David Folkenflik also tweeted that Fox News is “game-planning for life and [possible] prime-time lineup without Bill O’Reilly,” but said there was no decision from the Murdochs yet.
Meanwhile, CNN’s Brian Stelter reported Tuesday that representatives for O’Reilly and Fox News had started talking about his exit from the network, but this was denied by the host’s people.
One person close to O’Reilly, however, told CNN it was possible that he wouldn’t return to his show The O’Reilly Factor.
The investigation into O’Reilly’s behaviour was sparked after a sexual harassment claim was made against the pundit by Wendy Walsh, who was once a regular guest on his show.
Walsh alleged that O’Reilly never came through on a commitment to help her secure a job with Fox News after she turned down his invitation to a hotel room in 2013.
She phoned in her complaint to Fox News’ corporate hotline alongside her lawyer Lisa Bloom in a video that was posted to YouTube earlier this month.
The investigation also came amid a New York Times report that O’Reilly or Fox News had paid out as much as $13 million to five women in exchange for their agreement not to take him to court or to speak about their allegations publicly.
O’Reilly responded to that story by saying he was “vulnerable to lawsuits” because of his prominent media profile.
The network also backed him at the time, saying “Mr. O’Reilly is fully committed to supporting our efforts to improve the environment for all our employees at Fox News.”
High-profile advertisers such as BMW, Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz and GlaxoSmithKline were among several that withdrew their ads from The O’Reilly Factor amid the allegations.
BMW tied its decision directly to the allegations; so did advertisers Sannofi, Ainsworth, T. Rowe Price and Constant Contact.
Hyundai said it wanted to work with companies and programs that followed values such as inclusion and diversity, while Mercedes-Benz said it moved its ads to other shows on Fox News.
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