21st Century Fox said officially that Bill O'Reilly, the top-rated host on Fox News Channel, will not be returning to the network.
O'Reilly has been accused by several women of sexual harassment and more than $13 million has been paid to settle those claims, according to a New York Times story. The story led to many advertisers pulling their commercials from his program, The O'Reilly Factor.
In a statement, 21st Century Fox said: "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."
Last year, Fox News' powerful chairman Roger Ailes was forced out also after a series of sexual harassment charges.
Both decisions appear to have been spearheaded by James Murdoch, 21st Century Fox's new CEO, who seems to be taking a more corporate approach to managing the company than his swashbuckling father Rupert Murdoch, who is executive chairman of 21st Century Fox and became chairman of Fox News after Ailes' ouster.
O'Reilly's show continued to draw high ratings from loyal viewers, but pressure from women's groups and other activists made advertisers skittish, cutting into the program's economic viability.
After 21st Century Fox's decision was announced, liberal media watchdog Media Matters issued a statement said that the company had no choice but to cut O'Reilly loose.
"Fox News was forced to act. They had years to address serial sexual harassment at Fox News. They didn't; they actually enabled it. So, individuals and groups took action to educate advertisers. Advertisers fled because they immediately recognized what Fox News has ignored for over a decade: that serial sexual harassment is not only wrong, but bad for business," said Media Matters president Angelo Carusone.
"Without advertisers, Bill O'Reilly's show was no longer commercially viable. Fox News had no choice but to fire O'Reilly. Accountability came from the outside, not from within. Fox News deserves no accolades, only scorn for the industrial scale harassment they have forced their employees to endure," Carusone said.
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