New York [U.S.A.], Apr 20 (ANI): Following the disclosure of multiple settlements involving sexual harassment allegations against him, Bill O'Reilly has been forced out of his position as a prime-time host on Fox News.
"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 on Wednesday.
His ouster brings an end to his two-decade reign as one of the most popular and influential commentators in television.
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 and O'Reilly reached settlements with five women who had complained about sexual harassment or other inappropriate behavior by him. The agreements totalled about $13 million.
Since then, more than 50 advertisers had abandoned his show, and women's rights groups called for his ouster. Inside the company too, women expressed outrage and questioned whether top executives were serious about maintaining a culture based on "trust and respect."
A staunch supporter of President Donald Trump, O'Reilly has been an anchor at Fox News since he started at the network in 1996. He was the top-rated host in cable news, serving up defiant commentary every weekday at 8 p.m., with a message that celebrated patriotism and expressed scorn for political correctness.
O'Reilly's departure is the second sex scandal to rock the network in less than a year. Last July, Fox News's then chairman, Roger Ailes, was forced out amid allegations that he sexually harassed numerous women. Those allegations led to the departure of another of Fox's primetime stars, Megyn Kelly, who also accused Ailes of inappropriate behavior.
Both O'Reilly and Ailes have vehemently denied the allegations against them.
O'Reilly, on vacation in Italy, met briefly with Pope Francis on Friday in St Peter's Square. The meeting was part of the pope's weekly general audience. (ANI)