Bill O’Reilly is leaving Fox News with a payout of up to $25 million US dollars, the equivalent of one year of his salary, two people briefed on the matter have confirmed earlier today.
For 21st Century Fox, the network’s parent company, payouts related to sexual harassment allegations at Fox News now total more than 85 million US dollars.
The vast majority of that — up to 65 million US dollars in exit packages — is being paid to the men who were ousted from the network because of the harassment allegations.
67-year-old O’Reilly was forced out of the network yesterday following the disclosure of a series of sexual harassment allegations against him and an internal investigation that unearthed more women with complaints about his behavior.
His ouster was a stunning departure for 21st Century Fox, which long stood by O’Reilly even as allegations and settlements started to add up.
O’Reilly, who started at Fox News in 1996, was considered the network’s top asset.
His nightly program, “The O’Reilly Factor,’’ generated high ratings and pulled in hundreds of millions in advertising revenues.
But pressure mounted on the company to take action after a New York Times investigation found that O’Reilly and the company had reached settlements with five women who had complained about sexual harassment or other inappropriate behavior by him.
Last summer, Roger E. Ailes, the chairman of Fox News, left the network with an exit package worth 40 million US dollars after several women made sexual harassment allegations against him.
The company has reached settlements with at least six women who accused him of sexual harassment, according to a person familiar with the matter.
One was Gretchen Carlson, the former Fox News anchor.
She sued Ailes last July and left the network with a 20 million US dollars settlement.
Ailes and O’Reilly have denied the allegations.
Source: New York Times