Bill O’Reilly Scandal Timeline: From Fox News Star to Unemployed

Bill O'Reilly
AP

It took less than three weeks for top-rated anchor Bill O’Reilly to tumble from the highest echelons of Fox News to the unemployment line.

From the initial report on April 1 that O’Reilly had contributed to settlements to five women totalling $13 million over sexual harassment claims, to the Murdoch family’s announcement Wednesday that he was out at the network, the controversy that felled him unfolded in a whirlwind.

April 1, 2017

A New York Times report states that Bill O’Reilly, Fox News and parent company 21st Century Fox issued five payouts to women totaling about $13 million in exchange for them to not pursue legal action against the conservative commentator. The women, who either worked for O’Reilly or appeared on his show, accused him of “a wide range of behavior,” according to the report, including “verbal abuse, lewd comments, unwanted advances and phone calls in which it sounded as if Mr. O’Reilly was masturbating.” One of the cases involved a former Fox News staffer allegedly berated in front of colleagues by O’Reilly. O’Reilly called himself a “target for those who would harm me and my employer” in a statement issued on his website.

Among the women featured in the Times report was Wendy Walsh, a former guest commentator on “The O’Reilly Factor” who stated she met O’Reilly at his invitation for dinner at the Hotel Bel Air in Los Angeles, and talked of her prospects for getting hired as a paid contributor. She said she later refused his invite to his suite. After that, she said, O’Reilly was “hostile” to her and, in May, her weekly segments were put on hold.

April 4, 2017

Advertisers begin to pull their support from “The O’Reilly Factor.” BMW, Mitsubishi, Mercedes Benz, Hyundai, Sanofi US, and Allstate were among the more than a dozen blue-chip advertisers who pulled their support from the show.

“As a company we seek to partner with companies and programming that share our values of inclusion and diversity,” Hyundai said in their statement. “We will continue to monitor and evaluate the situation as we plan future advertising decisions.”

The same day, O’Reilly returned to the airwaves for the first time since the Times report broke, but he did not make any mention of the allegations against him or the loss of major sponsors. The bulk of the show was devoted to examining the question of whether former Obama administration National Security Advisor Susan Rice ordered the “unmasking” of the names of Americans found in contact with foreign intelligence targets in surveillance collected by the FBI, CIA and National Security Agency.

April 5, 2017

President Donald Trump offers support for O’Reilly during an interview with the Times. “I think he’s a person I know well — he is a good person,” Trump said. “I think he shouldn’t have settled; personally I think he shouldn’t have settled. Because you should have taken it all the way. I don’t think Bill did anything wrong.”

Also on April 5, weight-loss and diet company Jenny Craig announced they, too, would pull their ads from “The O’Reilly Factor.” “As an organization, Jenny Craig condemns any and all forms of sexual harassment,” the company said in a statement. The pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline also pulled their ads, saying, “We have temporarily put a hold on spots running on The O’Reilly Factor while we assess this situation.” At this point, at least 20 sponsors have backed away from O’Reilly.

Despite the controversy, ratings for “The O’Reilly Factor” skyrocket. Nielsen data revealed that the show drew 3.8 million people, an increase of 20% from the same day’s telecast the previous week.

April 8, 2017

Alec Baldwin does double duty as both President Trump and O’Reilly in an “SNL” sketch. “Tonight’s ‘Talking Points Memo’ is the scandal that everyone’s been talking about all week, a scandal no one thought I’d have the guts to address head on … about the shocking allegations of the abuse of power that have been leveled against the Obama administration,” Baldwin said as O’Reilly.

April 11, 2017

O’Reilly announces that he will take some time off as part of a pre-planned “vacation.” He explained that he often takes vacation around the start of spring. “We all need R&R. Put it to good use,” he told viewers.

“The arrangements, including airline and hotel reservations, for this vacation were made last October. The vacation involves a group of people, and the timing coincides with the period Mr. O’Reilly often takes off in and around his children’s spring break,” said Mark Fabiani, a spokesman for O’Reilly, in an emailed statement. “Other than the vacation guest hosts, The Factor broadcast will remain unchanged until Mr. O’Reilly’s return post-vacation.”

He was expected to return on April 24, but the April 11 broadcast would ultimately serve as his last.

April 18, 2017

Women’s group UltraViolet staged a protest outside Fox News headquarters in New York demanding that the network fire O’Reilly. The group also planned to deliver a petition signed by more than 140,000 people calling for O’Reilly’s ouster. They carried signs that bore slogans like “Fox Drop Sexual Predator O’Reilly.”

The same day, attorney Lisa Bloom said that she is representing a new woman making a complaint of sexual and racial harassment against O’Reilly, claiming that he made offensive gestures toward her and called her “hot chocolate.” O’Reilly’s lawyer called the claim “outrageous” and blasted the fact that it was made by an anonymous woman.

Reports then begin to surface that Fox News will part ways with O’Reilly in light of the controversy.

April 19, 2017

Fox News officially fires O’Reilly. In a memo to staffers signed by Rupert Murdoch, chairman of Fox News; James Murdoch, 21st Century Fox CEO; and Lachlan Murdoch, exec chairman of 21st Century Fox, the Murdochs said the decision to part ways with O’Reilly was made after working with outside attorneys. The Murdochs said they sought to “underscore our consistent commitment to fostering a work environment built on the values of trust and respect.”

In a separate memo sent by Rupert Murdoch to Fox News staffers, the chairman acknowledged “how difficult this has been for many of you. Thank you for your hard work, patience, and for the great job you all do delivering news and opinion to millions of Americans whose trust you earn every day.”

Shortly thereafter, the network announced that Tucker Carlson will move to O’Reilly’s 8 p.m. slot starting Monday, April 24. Fox News will fill Carlson’s former berth with its panel show, “The Five,” which will be co-anchored by Kimberly Guilfoyle, Dana Perino, Bob Beckel, Greg Gutfeld, Jesse Watters and Juan Williams will Sean Hannity will remain at 10 p.m.

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  1. Kh says:

    So the President who openly sexually harasses women feels O’Reilly didn’t do anything wrong hmmmmmmm………..

  2. cesar says:

    what if he made up all this joke to sign a deal with fox and retire. i dont think he is that dumb

  3. All this crap and he got fire from these women’s here say.

  4. Gregory Pentz says:

    I think this was a lIberal hit job . Some of it may be true , but I will almost bet most of it was fabricated to get Bill out as he told it like it is and the Liberals ‘ heads were exploding. But I will bet Bill O riley will land on his feet as he is a millionaire , while on the other hand , Fox news will lose millions of dollars and fall drastically in the ratings . I will not longer watch fox as many many more Conservatives will not watch it .Fox , you deserve what you get for giving into the Liberals . enjoy your decent .

  5. javier n says:

    I love how all the conservative snowflakes have been triggered. Roger was covering this up. when he got tossed to the curve, no one could have protected Bill’s bad behavior anymore. Roger could have stopped it, but chose not to. it’s not a witch hunt, its fallout from Roger’s poor management. Fox couldn’t afford to keep Bill around if there is no advertisers to fund the show, in today’s world of falling ratings, Again not a witch hunt, its just business in challenging environment. Ratings don’t mean a thing if you can’t get top dollar for a show with an expensive host.

  6. Nan Brian says:

    This is a hit job in my opinion. Non leftests have little to watch on TV now. The corporate Marxists wish for the American citizens to be ” unaware and compliant” as stated in the Ivey Podesta email of March 2016. The only way to do this is by framing people. I will never watch Fox again.

  7. The Alt left took a big scalp with Billy, and I imagine Pocahontas is jumping up and down with great gusto in her tee pee.

  8. Delia Vona says:

    I’am heart broken about Bill O’Reilly. I just started to watch Fox because of him. I looked forward to watch him every night. Then I started to watch Tucker and Hannity. Are they next? Are the liberals searching for shit on them, so they can blackmail them, too. Are you using Bill as an example to shut Tucker and Hannity up. I will never watch Fox or any channel affiliated with Fox again.

  9. Doug says:

    So sad that today one is guilty till proven innocent. Fox has made a big mistake by letting Bill O. go.
    The women today, can’t tell the difference between a complement or a personal observation of there appearance from Sexual harassment. So sad. I have watched fox for longer than I can remember. But no more, there far from fair and balanced and tonight is the last time I’ll watch them or any channel affiliated with Fox, and will ask my family and friend to do the same. So Sad.
    What will your advertiser’s do when you belly up and no one watches you anymore. I could go on and on but don’t want to say how Mad I am.

    • Damon Tammas says:

      Multiple settlements and multiple years of the same charges are clearly showing he is not ‘guilty until proven innocent’. Has everyone forgotten the actual audio tape from years ago where he drunkenly told the producer he wanted to rub her with a falafel (not a loofah) in the shower? This is not new, whats new is all of these conservative women lining up to protect him, and vote for President P-Grabber (another where you actuall y have recording of him saying the vulgarities). If women don’t have each others backs to this extent, no wonder you are second class citizens in the corporate world.

    • marcy key says:

      True Doug and i am a woman and know how woman can be..If someone says something to me sexually harassing. I deal with it, but i also understand sarcasm and compliments. I dont take men too serious. This infuriates me, I guess we are guilty until proven innocent…

    • Cheryl H says:

      This wasn’t a trial; his employer made a decision based on past payouts to avoid lawsuits and more allegations coming down the pike. Every employer in the country, in “at will” situations, can fire an employee for whatever reason (unless, of course) that termination will violate EEO laws). He became a liability, they put up with things for a long time, and now have made a decision. Personally, I believe he acted like a pig toward these women. And there must have been enough there to settle past threats of litigation out of court. But if he’s costing the network money, this was a smart move. Done.

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