Top host Bill O’Reilly is out at Fox News amid accusations of sexual harassment against him, the network’s parent company 21st Century Fox announced Wednesday afternoon.
“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,” the company said in a statement.
In a statement late Wednesday afternoon, O’Reilly nevertheless blamed his departure on “completely unsubstantiated claims.”
Fox announced that Tucker Carlson will take over O’Reilly’s 8 p.m. slot on Fox News.
New York Magazine reported earlier Wednesday, citing unnamed sources briefed on the discussions, that exit negotiations were “moving quickly” after members of the Murdoch family agreed to give O’Reilly the boot.
Allegations against O’Reilly date back to August 2016, when former Fox News host Andrea Tantaros filed a lawsuit that included claims that O’Reilly asked her to stay at his home on Long Island, which he said would be “very private.” He also allegedly said he could see her “as a wild girl.”
The New York Times published an investigation earlier in April revealing that at least five women took a total of $13 million in settlements from O’Reilly or 21st Century Fox after making allegations of sexual harassment or other inappropriate behavior against the TV host and bestselling author.
The Wall Street Journal reported on the same day that Fox News had recently renewed its contract with O’Reilly.
At a press conference days later, former regular Fox News guest Wendy Walsh said that O’Reilly froze her out of a job opportunity after she turned down his inappropriate advances in 2013.
“I am thrilled that a corporation has made the seismic shift to put women’s rights ahead of their bottom line,” Walsh said on Wednesday after Fox announced that O’Reilly would not return. “And for this I feel grateful.”
Attorney Lisa Bloom, who represents three O’Reilly accusers, celebrated the network’s decision Wednesday.
“Fox News should have fired him in 2004 when the first complaint was made, but at least they did it now,” she said in a statement. “They did it because we persisted.”
President Donald Trump defended O’Reilly in an interview with the New York Times where he called O’Reilly a “good person” and said he “shouldn’t have settled.”
“I don’t think Bill did anything wrong,” Trump said.
In recent weeks, dozens of companies pulled ad buys from “The O’Reilly Factor” in the wake of the allegations against him.
O’Reilly departed last week for his longest spring vacation in at least 10 years, though he said he booked the trip months ago.
His lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, claimed in a statement Tuesday evening that O’Reilly was the victim of a “smear campaign” from the “far-left.”
This post has been updated.