Bill O'Reilly out at Fox News after sexual harassment claims

Bill O'Reilly has been forced out of his position as a prime-time host at Fox News, the company said Wednesday, after the disclosure of settlements involving sexual harassment allegations against him.

O'Reilly had already vacated his anchor chair for the most recent Factor episodes, with guest hosts like Greg Gutfeld and Dana Perino filling in as the former anchor took a "vacation" and met Pope Francis.

The confirmation comes hours after NY magazine's Gabriel Sherman reported that the top executives of 21st Century Fox, the parent company of Fox News, have made a decision to fire O'Reilly from his show, "The O'Reilly Factor", and are going over a list of replacements.

O'Reilly released a statement, calling it "tremendously disheartening that we part ways due to completely unfounded claims". It seems the network feels the same way because an internal company memo signed by Rupert Murdoch even praised O'Reilly as an accomplished personality in cable news history.

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In the wake of the Times report, two more women have come forward to accuse O'Reilly of harassment, one anonymously. The show had lost numerous advertisers after news about Fox News paying out more than $13 million to settle five separate sexual harassment lawsuits against him broke.

Not long after, 21st Century Fox announced on Wednesday that O'Reilly won't be returning to the network. Eastern time slot, Fox News said.

O'Reilly's show, "The O'Reilly Factor", is the top-rated show on Fox News.

All probably contributed to O'Reilly's exit.

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Walsh does not have a legal claim against O'Reilly due to the statute of limitations on harassment cases in NY and California, but she did report the matter to the human resources hotline of the company earlier this month.

Dismissed "O'Reilly Factor" host Bill O'Reilly has issued a statement on his termination, adding to a statement from his lawyer that sincerely called the campaign to oust him "a brutal campaign of character assassination that is unprecedented in post-McCarthyist America".

The network's parent company, entertainment giant 21st Century Fox, insisted that Fox News will weather the current storm, noting in a statement the "strength of its talent bench" and expressing "full confidence that the network will continue to be a powerhouse in cable news".

"Lastly, and most importantly, we want to underscore our consistent commitment to fostering a work environment built on the values of trust and respect", the 21st Century Fox email said Wednesday. Fox News had no choice but to fire O'Reilly.

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With its biggest star departing in another blowup over sexual harassment, Fox News faces some big challenges.

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