Embattled Fox News host Bill O’Reilly announced on his show Tuesday that he will be taking a vacation — but one news outlet says he may be off the air for good.
According to New York Magazine reporter Gabriel Sherman, who has a long track record of breaking stories about the network, the Murdoch family is divided over what to do with the “O’Reilly Factor” host. More than 60 advertisers have dropped him since a New York Times report that Fox News and O’Reilly have paid $13 million to five women who accuse him of sexual harassment or misconduct.
21st Century Fox has hired the same law firm that investigated Roger Ailes last summer to look into O’Reilly’s behavior. Ailes ended up leaving the network over sexual harassment allegations.
Sherman says that despite O’Reilly saying he scheduled his upcoming vacation “last fall” — and a Fox News representative saying he will return on April 24 — his future is now in the hands of the Murdoch family.
Sherman cites network insiders who say 21st Century Fox CEO James Murdoch would like O’Reilly permanently benched, while his brother Lachlan and family patriarch Rupert are prepared to let O’Reilly stay. A representative for the Murdochs declined to comment to the magazine on the matter.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday’s show, O’Reilly told viewers that he always take a little R&R around Easter time. “If you could possibly take two good trips a year, it’ll refresh your life,” he said.
Advertisers have been fleeing the show in droves in the week since the NY Times expose, with companies including BMW, Hyundai and Mercedes refusing to run ads on “The O’Reilly Factor.”
Chad Kawalec, president of the Brand Identity Center, told TheWrap that following allegations such as those made against O’Reilly, “you can’t get that stink off you.”