Bill O’Reilly could walk away with as much as $20 million to $25 million as part of his separation from Fox News Channel, according to a person familiar with the situation, signaling the high value the cable-news outlet placed on its best-known anchor.
As part of the terms of a contract recently signed between the veteran anchor and the 21st Century Fox cable-news outlet, O’Reilly is entitled to as much as a year of his current salary, this person said. O’Reilly is believed to make as much as $20 million to $25 million per year. O’Reilly is leaving the network after a New York Times investigation revealed $13 million in settlements made to women who levied charges of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior at the former host of the popular “The O’Reilly Factor.” Advertisers subsequently defected from his program.
In a statement released Wednesday, O’Reilly said: “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.” He has said he entered into settlements to protect his children and suggested his fame made him a target.
A Fox News spokesperson declined to comment, as did a spokesman for O’Reilly.
O’Reilly would not be the first to walk away from Fox under a cloud but with substantial money under his arm. Roger Ailes, the network’s former chairman and chief executive, was ousted last summer in the wake of an investigation made into allegations of sexual harassment, and was said to be paid a settlement valued at the remaining time on his contract. Ailes was said to make around $20 million per year.