It appears that the first major casualty of the Donald Trump era is, surprisingly, longtime Fox News star Bill O’Reilly.
After major scandal and more than half of Fox advertisers pulling their ads from the popular “O’Reilly Factor,” sources have confirmed that executives at Fox News are prepared to end O’Reilly’s employment at the network.
According to the New Yorker, insider sources have confirmed that the Murdochs have made the decision to terminate O’Reilly’s 21-year tenure at Fox News. This morning, these executives are holding meetings to decide how to handle the severing of the relationship and what to do with the “O’Reilly Factor,” a wildly successful show in a primetime spot.
O’Reilly’s troubles began decades ago when he was sued for sexual harassment in 2004. At the time, Fox gladly footed the bill to settle the case and have continued to do so four other times throughout the years. As a bombshell New York Times report noted, Fox has paid $13 million since 2004 to silence Bill’s accusers.
In response to the latest accusations, advertisers began pulling their ads from the show’s time-block, placing their image before their short-term financial gains. The first advertiser to pull their ads was Mercedes-Benz, which was quickly followed by an avalanche of others.
Though Fox has shown a clear intention to ignore O’Reilly’s crimes, they could not ignore the massive public scandal, nor the loss of so much revenue.
Last week, O’Reilly announced a purportedly long-planned vacation that he would be embarking on and returning at the end of the month to resume his show amid rampant scandal. At the time, many speculated that he would not be returning at all.
The official announcement will be made by the network sometime before O’Reilly returns from his vacation on April 24.
President Trump will not be pleased to see his close friend leaving his favorite network. As recently as last week, President Trump defended O’Reilly and said that he had done nothing wrong.
O’Reilly’s exodus from Fox echoes that of then-President Roger Ailes in 2016. He, too, was accused by a large number of women of sexual harassment in the workplace, as well as the leveraging of career advancement with sexual favors.
That these two men both reigned on the same network for so long is no coincidence – the culture of Fox News simply lends itself to the exploitation and disrespect of women, regardless of what it does to its female employees. In both O’Reilly’s and Ailes’ case, Fox executives had intimate knowledge of the way that these men conducted “business,” and yet the network sheltered and promoted them again and again.
The only bright spot from all of this is that as these men continue to be ousted, more women may come forward, encouraging a culture that may eventually change thanks to the voices of dozens of women.