Bill O'Reilly loses job at Fox News following sexual harassment allegations

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"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.

That was certainly the case up until the New York Times ' explosive report earlier this month that revealed O'Reilly has been involved in at least five cases in which he or Fox News settled with women claiming sexual harassment or other inappropriate behavior.

The scandal, which was initially reported by The New York Times, had motivated about 50 companies - including big names such as Mercedes-Benz, Hundai and BMW - to withdraw their advertising from "The O'Reilly Factor", the host's evening programme. O'Reilly's success at appealing to like-minded viewers made him and Fox into cable news leaders.

Fox News is parting ways with Bill O'Reilly, who for years stood as one of cable news' most popular hosts.

More than 50 companies yanked advertising from his show, the most popular in U.S. cable news watched on average by 3.98 million viewers in early 2017, according to Adweek.

O'Reilly's fans aren't likely to be happy about him losing his job, particularly on a controversy set in motion by the Times.

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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.

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According to Forbes , The O'Reilly Factor brought in roughly $110.8 million in advertising revenue a year ago, and from 2014 to 2016, the show generated $446 million in ad revenue. "He's been the linchpin" of the lineup, said Jane Hall, an American University professor and former Fox contributor, who noted that it will take a while to see whether his loyal audience sticks with O'Reilly's replacement.

"They could literally go dark during the time his programme airs and they would still be profitable", said Wieser.

Marc Kasowitz, O'Reilly's attorney, said that it was "outrageous that an allegation from an anonymous person about something that purportedly happened nearly a decade ago is being treated as fact, especially where there is obviously an orchestrated campaign by activists and lawyers to destroy Mr. O'Reilly and enrich themselves through publicity driven donations".

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch and his son Lachlan are co-executive chairmen of the company and son James is chief executive officer.

The decision ends a more than 20-year career at Fox News for O'Reilly, who is a best-selling author as well as one of the most popular commentators on US television. Stewart never failed to roast O'Reilly for his perceived failings during his years spent hosting "The Daily Show".

In a move that some might view as deeply ironic, given O'Reilly's current circumstances, the embattled host was victorious when he encouraged Pepsi to cut ties with rapper Ludacris because the latter was "a man who degrades women".

His book publishing partner, Henry Holt, said Wednesday that "our plans have not changed".

Vatican spokesman Greg Burke confirmed O'Reilly was in the VIP section for the pope's Wednesday appearance.

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