Bill O’Reilly isn’t hiding his displeasure at being forced out of Fox News.
The O’Reilly Factor host issued a statement about the verdict by parent company 21st Century Fox to have him leave the network due to a series of sexual harassment accusations.
“Over the past 20 years at Fox News, I have been extremely proud to launch and lead one of the most successful news programs in history, which has consistently informed and entertained millions of Americans and significantly contributed to building Fox into the dominant news network in television,” he said in a statement obtained by EW. “It is tremendously disheartening that we part ways due to completely unfounded claims. But that is the unfortunate reality many of us in the public eye must live with today. 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.”
Earlier today the company 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.”
Tucker Carlson will get O’Reilly’s 8 p.m. slot. starting April 24.
Attorney Lisa Bloom, who represented three of O’Reilly’s accusers, claimed victory: “This is what happens when women speak our truth: We can slay dragons. … Fox News should have fired him in 2004 when the first complaint was made, but at least they did it now. They did it because we persisted.”
Still, O’Reilly’s landing will be pretty cushy: He settled his Fox News contract for about $13 million, according to The New York Times.
Meanwhile, Fox News chiefs Rupert, Lachlan, and James Murdoch sent a memo to the network’s staff praising O’Reilly’s ratings legacy: “By ratings standards, Bill O’Reilly is one of the most accomplished TV personalities in the history of cable news. In fact, his success by any measure is indisputable. Fox News has demonstrated again and again the strength of its talent bench. We have full confidence the network will continue to be a powerhouse in cable news.”