Society

Fox Allegedly Considering Firing Bill O'Reilly

| by Jordan Smith

The owners of Fox News are reportedly considering firing primetime host Bill O'Reilly following allegations of sexual harassment.

Fox owner Rupert Murdoch and his two sons, James and Lachlan, have differing opinions on what course to take, according to New York Magazine.

Rupert is said to be opposed to firing O'Reilly, who is among the network's most popular hosts. One anonymous source told New York Magazine his resistance was due to the fact that he does not want it to appear as though he has been forced to make a decision by The New York Times.

On the other hand, Murdoch's son James has responded to mounting anti-O'Reilly protests by supporting his removal. Reportedly, Lachlan was initially on the side of his father, but has shifted in favor of O'Reilly's removal.

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The host of "The O'Reilly Factor" is scheduled to return from vacation on April 24.

A growing number of advertisers have pulled out of O'Reilly's show over recent days.

"It's worse than Glenn Beck," one Fox source alleged, referring to Beck's removal from the network in 2011.

Other sources told the New York Magazine that dissatisfaction among Fox employees is building.

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"Morale is awful," said one female executive, adding "There's been no word from management to calm the masses."

O'Reilly has admitted entering into settlements with five women to protect his family; however, he has denied the harassment allegations. Fox News and O'Reilly have paid $13 million in settlements since 2002, the Washington Post reported.

The latest allegation against O'Reilly was raised by Wendy Walsh, who accused him of dropping her as a regular guest on his show and backing out of a promise to help secure her a paid position at Fox after she turned down O'Reilly's offer to join him at his hotel suite.

In the summer of 2016, Fox fired chairman Roger Ailes over several sexual harassment allegations.

Variety reported that a group of less than 100 people gathered at Fox headquarters in Manhattan April 18 to call for O'Reilly's firing.

"I have personal experience with harassment early in my career," one protester told Variety. "I would like to spare other young women from having to go through what I went through."

Participants carried signs at the protest, which was organized by women's advocacy group ultraViolet.

"This is bigger than women, this is bigger than gender," Carol Barash of UltraViolet added. "This is about fundamental human rights for all people in the workplace."

Retired computer scientist Barry Solow joined the protest.

"I'm here to help assert that manhood is not assaulting or harassing women," Solow told Variety. "It's reprehensible no matter who does it or where it happens. Consequences must be paid."

O'Reilly also has defenders -- they assert that he continued to invite Walsh onto his program even after their meeting in Los Angeles, in one instance to help promote a book Walsh had authored, according to The Washington Post.

Sources: New York Magazine, Variety, The Washington Post via Toronto Star / Photo credit: U.S. Air Force/Wikimedia Commons

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