Sacked news host Bill O'Reilly blasts 'unfounded' harassment claims

Fox News Channel released a statement on Wednesday announcing its new prime-time lineup in the wake of O'Reilly's departure.

The announcement comes at hard time for Fox News, whose former chairman Roger Ailes resigned previous year after a sexual harassment lawsuit by former anchor Gretchen Carlson.

In a memo to staff, Rupert, James, and Lachlan Murdoch, who run Fox News, said of Bill: "By ratings standards, Bill O'Reilly is one of the most accomplished TV personalities in the history of cable news".

The move came after the New York Times revealed in an April 1 story that O'Reilly and Fox News had reached financial settlements totaling close to $13 million with five women who filed complaints against the longtime host over the years.

Fox News Channel's parent company sacked O'Reilly on Wednesday following an investigation into the allegations, bringing a stunning end to cable news' most popular programme and one that came to define the bravado of his network over 20 years. The same sources say more women plan to come forward and other Fox anchors could soon follow O'Reilly and Ailes out the door.

The report of the latest claim prompted a statement from Marc E. Kasowitz, an attorney for O'Reilly, who said his client is being targeted by liberal groups who are out to "destroy" him. "But that is the unfortunate reality many of us in the public eye must live with today", said the O'Reilly Factor host.

That multiplying effect gave O'Reilly a role in a seismic change, he said.

He added: '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. Yesterday, an African American woman who worked as a clerical worker in 2008 at Fox News, claimed O'Reilly engaged in a pattern of harassment that lasted for months including making animal noises at her, staring at her cleavage and calling her "hot chocolate".

With a profit centre gone, 21st Century Fox stock fell nearly 1% on Wednesday in heavy trading. "Half of the fun that they have with their audiences comes from watching the outrage that they manage to provoke". "O'Reilly could have sexually harassed a Girl Scout and Fox would have kept him".

"We know that you, his very loyal viewers, will have a lot of feelings about this, and we will talk more about it later on in the program". "He's a brand on his own, as you can tell from all the best-selling books he's got", he said.

One harassment case, from a former producer who said O'Reilly called her and described sexual fantasies and appeared to be masturbating, dated back more than a decade and was widely reported then.

  • Salvatore Jensen