Published: Fri, April 14, 2017
Culture | By Stewart Greene

This could be the end for Bill O'Reilly

The number of minutes of paid advertising on Bill O'Reilly's Fox News program fell more than two thirds by the end of last week as advertisers scrambled to distance themselves from the host's sexual harassment scandal.

O'Reilly, whose show is now dealing with an exodus of advertisers and a Fox investigation into a sexual harassment claim against the TV anchor, told his viewers that he takes vacation time "often around this time of year" and that he booked the trip last fall.

The embattled host took his vacation in the midst of a firestorm after the New York Times revealed that he and the network had paid $13 million to five women as settlements for sexual harassment complaints.

After playing the clip of a male passenger being forcibly removed by aviation police officers Sunday from United flight 3411, O'Reilly chuckled as he said to Fox News correspondent Rob Schmitt, "I shouldn't be laughing, but it's just so freaky".

One source close to the matter told CNN that Rupert Murdoch, the executive chairman, might keep O'Reilly on air, but Murdoch's son James, 21st Century Fox CEO, is not keen to do that. In a statement, O'Reilly denied wrongdoing and said his high profile in TV made him a "target for those who would harm me and my employer".

"I told them we really appreciate that and let's get going as soon as possible".

O'Reilly insisted his vacation had nothing to do with a sexual harassment scandal now disrupting his brand. She also cites a lawsuit by three black women employees of Fox News who allege that the network's former senior vice president, Judith Slater, subjected them to "discriminatory statements and conduct" for years. If he goes off the air for a while, will calm return?

O'Reilly, for his part, rejects the allegations as unfounded attacks against him because of his wealth and fame, saying he only agreed to the settlements to protect his family. But O'Reilly's fate rests with the Murdoch family and they are reportedly divided over how to handle it.

In the past week, more than 70 advertisers have jumped ship from the show. The Fox News chairman was given a massive payout past year to leave the network after those allegations - all of which he has denied. "We all need R&R".

Another former Fox News host, Andrea Tantaros, named O'Reilly in a lawsuit previous year claiming he and other network executives had subjected her to unwanted sexual advances.

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