Anti-gay anchor Bill O’Reilly sacked by Fox amid sexual harassment claims
Anti-gay Fox News host Bill O’Reilly has been sensationally dropped by the network.
The 67-year-old’s career as the top rated talk show host came to an abrupt end yesterday when the Fox network sacked him amid a string of sexual harassment claims.
Mr O’Reilly and his employers came under intense pressure after an article by The New York Times alleged Fox News and its parent company, 21st Century Fox, had repeatedly stood by him despite the ongoing allegations.
The New York Times said Fox defended O’Reilly even as he and the company reached settlements with five women who had complained about sexual harassment or other inappropriate behaviour by him.
The agreements are reported to have totalled about $13 million.
More than 50 advertisers had abandoned his show, the O’Reilly Factor, and women’s rights groups had called for him to be fired.
He has been a long time opponent of LGBT rights, previously having to apologise after he suggested there was a link between homosexuality and paedophilia.
21st Century Fox said issued a statement, saying: “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.”
James Murdoch stopped to answer a question about the decision while in New York, saying: “We did a thorough investigation, a thorough review, and we reached a conclusion.
“Everything that we said in our statement is all you need to know.”
In a statement later in the day, Mr O’Reilly praised Fox News but said it was “tremendously disheartening that we part ways due to completely unfounded claims.”
He added: “But that is the unfortunate reality many of us in the public eye must live with today,” he said. “I will always look back on my time at Fox with great pride in the unprecedented success we achieved and with my deepest gratitude to all my dedicated viewers. I wish only the best for Fox News Channel.”
According to Media Matters, he also claimed same-sex marriage had only been introduced due to “intimidation” by LGBT people.
He said: “One of the reasons gay marriage has come on so strong in the USA is intimidation.”
“If you oppose [same-sex marriage], you may become a target.”
“There’s a big difference in saying, ‘if you donate money to a traditional marriage cause, we’re going to hurt you, we’re going to find out where you live, we are going try to take your job. Maybe do vandalism to your home’ – big, big difference, is there not?
“There have been websites who have put people’s names on there. There have been a lot of that stuff.
“Now there are threats and demonisation. And that, unfortunately, has put gay marriage over the top. That is the technique that turned the tide – intimidation and harm. That’s what won it.”