Fox News ends relationship with Bill O'Reilly, O'Reilly responds

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O'Reilly said in an April 1 statement that he had been unfairly targeted because of his public prominence.

Fox News parent 21st Century Fox said in a statement that "after a thorough and careful review of allegations against him, the Company and Bill O'Reilly have agreed that Mr. O'Reilly will not return".

In a one-sentence statement, the network's parent company, 21st Century Fox, on Wednesday confirmed a report by NY magazine that O'Reilly is finished at Fox News.

O'Reilly's departure was precipitated by a New York Times report earlier this month that O'Reilly, Fox and 21st Century Fox had reached settlements totaling $13 million with five women who had accused O'Reilly of sexual harassment or verbal abuse.

The New York Times reports that an African-American woman - who remains anonymous - came forward this week with allegations of her own, saying O'Reilly would at various times grunt like a "wild boar" at her desk, leer at her and refer to her as "hot chocolate".

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.

Embattled Fox News host Bill O'Reilly had a brief handshake with Pope Francis on Wednesday as sexual harassment allegations dog him at home.

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O'Reilly's attorney said on Tuesday that the host was the target of a "smear campaign" funded by far-left advocacy groups. In the first quarter of this year, the network averaged 2.7 million viewers between 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET, double the viewership of second-place MSNBC. Ailes has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

Representatives at Fox News and its parent, Twenty-First Century Fox, were not immediately available for comment about how O'Reilly might be replaced.

Gabriel Sherman, a long-time O'Reilly-watcher at NY magazine, reported Wednesday before the announcement that Fox executives were in the final negotiations with O'Reilly, mainly over the timing of an announcement and whether he would be allowed to say good-bye to his audience. "The Five", a talk show with five rotating hosts that regularly airs at 5 p.m. ET, will move into the 9 p.m. time slot.

O'Reilly's sudden departure from Fox News arrives after over 50 advertisers pulled their ads from the news network.

"Bill O'Reilly, the biggest star in the 20-year history of Fox News, is leaving the network in the wake of mounting allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate conduct", Baier said.

Three sentences into the statement announcing that O'Reilly was out, Fox News PR declared that Carlson was in.

Apparently, the extended "vacation" Bill O'Reilly had been taking from his show, "The O'Reilly Factor", was a cover story.

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