Internal memo on Bill O'Reilly sent to Fox News employees

Paterniano Del Favero
Aprile 20, 2017

The divisive O'Reilly, 67, was the biggest revenue generator for the No.1 rating Fox News subscriber television network and the top rating presenter nationwide for 15 years. O'Reilly has had a brief handshake with Pope Francis as sexual harassment allegations dog him at home in the U.S. He is on a two-week vacation that on Wednesday took him to Francis' general audience in St. Peter's Square. The channel's majority owner is Fox News Channel parent company 21st Century Fox.

Longtime host Bill O'Reilly is leaving the Fox News Channel, departing his prime-time program which has been the top-rated cable show in that time slot for the past 18 years.

In a statement, O'Reilly called the allegations against him "unfounded" and said it was "tremendously disheartening" that he should leave the network on these terms. "But that is the unfortunate reality many of us in the public eye must live with today", O'Reilly said in the statement, which was emailed by crisis communications expert Mark Fabiani.

Amid resistance to the takeover from British politicians with long memories over the News of the World phone hacking scandal, Fox needs to pass a "fit and proper" regulatory test in the United Kingdom for the full Sky acquisition. He still went ahead and signed a new contract with Fox, however.

"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", 21st Century Fox said in a statement.

Ultimately, more than 50 advertisers abandoned his show, and various women's rights groups called for his firing.

"It's not my place to judge Bill O'Reilly the same way he judged me", he said during an appearance on radio show "The Breakfast Club". "Winning the most unreal, surreal election we have ever seen", as chief political anchor Bret Baier said, Trump took the presidency. In fact, his success by any measure is indisputable.

Yet the allegations against O'Reilly fit into an uncomfortable narrative for the cable news network.

Murdoch added in his memo, "Most importantly, we want to underscore our consistent commitment to fostering a work environment built on the values of trust and respect".

The letter concluded with an apparent nod to morale problems within Fox News recently. But "I'm not closing the door" on O'Reilly "just because there were allegations that were not confirmed", he said.

People upset about O'Reilly's forced departure may quit their cable subscriptions, and Fox News would lose out on those fees, DiClemente said. Ousting O'Reilly, he said, "does not speak to a changed culture". Carlson's show had been moved earlier this year to replace "The Kelly File" with Megyn Kelly, another Fox News star who left for NBC in January.

That will be Tucker Carlson, whose show is moving to the 8 p.m. slot on Fox.

At least now maybe things will have a friendlier air with Carlson sandwiched between Martha McCallum at 7 p.m. and "The Five" at 9 p.m. O'Reilly never passed the baton to Carlson at the close of his show.

Already, Bill O'Reilly's famous war cry - the full-throated yell that began every edition of The O'Reilly Factor: "Caution!"

"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".

21st Century Fox was spun out of News Corp in 2013, a split that transferred the more modern and profitable entertainment assets into a new entity.

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