Fox News fires Bill O'Reilly after sexual harassment accusations

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Bill O'Reilly's 21-year career at Fox News has come to a sudden and ignoble end.

In a statement, 21st Century Fox said that "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".

"O'Reilly's fate at the network is expected to be discussed on Thursday at a board meeting for Fox News's parent company, 21st Century Fox".

"Getting rid of the old guard is a way to do that", said Dan Cassino, a professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University and the author of "Fox News & American Politics: How One Channel Shapes American Politics & Society".

O'Reilly's departure, effective immediately, was announced by 21st Century Fox, parent of Fox News, on Wednesday afternoon. According to the report, the testimony against O'Reilly includes descriptions of "verbal abuse, lewd comments, unwanted advances and phone calls in which it sounded as if [he] was masturbating".

Shortly after, News Corp Executive Chairman and Fox News acting CEO Rupert Murdoch sent out a similar internal memo obtained by PEOPLE that acknowledged, "By ratings standards, Bill O'Reilly is one of the most accomplished TV personalities in the history of cable news".

O'Reilly has written more than two dozen books, according to his official website.

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That will be Tucker Carlson, whose show is moving to the 8 p.m. slot on Fox.

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

The pressure didn't come from just one side, though.

The New York Times reported April 2 that five women had been paid a total of $13 million to keep quiet about unpleasant encounters with O'Reilly, who has denied any wrongdoing.

It is unclear if Fox News is paying O'Reilly. The O'Reilly Factor is the lynchpin of Fox News' primetime lineup, delivering approximately three to four million viewers per night.

O'Reilly observers are curious to see if the hot-tempered host will channel his anger into some sort of new project. "That's bigger than O'Reilly", he said. More than 50 major advertisers said they would no longer air commercials during O'Reilly's show after the New York Times' report on the sexual harassment settlements. "Certainly they make things better for America". On Tuesday, his attorney said in a statement that the host had "been subjected to a brutal campaign of character assassination that is unprecedented in post-McCarthyist America" and that the allegations were a "smear campaign" that was "orchestrated by far-left organizations".

A Vatican photograph showed O'Reilly shaking hands with Pope Francis after a general audience on Wednesday, but it was not clear if the Pope knew who the television host was.

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