Bill O’Reilly has broken his silence on his ousting from Fox News, calling it “disheartening” and “due to completely unfounded claims.”
Fox News announced the departure of the “O’Reilly Factor” host on Wednesday morning, following a bombshell New York Times report on April 1 that O’Reilly and Fox News made payouts totaling about $13 million to five women to settle claims of sexual harassment and other inappropriate behavior.
Additional female accusers have stepped forward in the weeks since the Times story.
“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,” O’Reilly said in his statement. “It is tremendously disheartening that we part ways due to completely unfounded claims. But that is the unfortunate reality many of us in the public eye must live with today. I will always look back on my time at Fox with great pride in the unprecedented success we achieved and with my deepest gratitude to all my dedicated viewers. I wish only the best for Fox News Channel.”
Negotiations over O’Reilly’s departure have moved quickly, according to a report in New York Magazine. Executives held emergency meetings Wednesday morning regarding potential “collateral damage to the network” as a result of letting their highest-rated host go, sources told the outlet.
“The O’Reilly Factor” finished 2016 as the most-watched show in cable news and O’Reilly has essentially dominated the industry for nearly two decades, finishing No. 1 in all of cable news for 16 straight years.