Fox News fires Bill O'Reilly after sexual harassment accusations

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The New York Times reported April 2 that five women had been paid a total of $13 million to keep quiet about unpleasant encounters with O'Reilly, who has denied any wrongdoing.

Meanwhile, on vacation in Rome Wednesday, O'Reilly shook Pope Francis' hand. Since then, another unnamed woman at Fox News came forward to accuse O'Reilly of sexual harassment this week. And why did all the advertiser that pulled off his show now, stick with his show this long?

Twenty-First Century Fox had tapped the law firm Paul, Weiss Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, which also looked into the allegations against Ailes, to investigate O'Reilly's conduct.

Bill O'Reilly was adamant Wednesday in denying allegations of sexual harassment leveled against him even after Fox News Channel ended an extremely successful relationship with the famous TV host. Conservative personality Glenn Beck - who once lost a job at Fox because a similar campaign choked his program of paying advertisers - came to O'Reilly's defense on his radio show.

The scandal, which was initially reported by The New York Times, had motivated about 50 companies - including big names such as Mercedes-Benz, Hundai and BMW - to withdraw their advertising from "The O'Reilly Factor", the host's evening programme.

For the remainder of this week, "The O'Reilly Factor" will continue with guest hosts Dana Perino on Wednesday and Thursday night and Greg Gutfeld on Friday night.

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Covering O'Reilly's departure is awkward for Fox News, no doubt, but ignoring it forever seemed impossible. O'Reilly's success at appealing to like-minded viewers made him and Fox into cable news leaders.

Murdoch, who is executive chairman of Twenty-First Century Fox, also wrote the company is committed to "fostering a work environment built on the values of trust and respect". Tucker Carlson is set to permanently take over the 8 p.m. time slot.

"The Five" will be replaced at 5 p.m. EDT by a one-hour program hosted by Eric Bolling, to debut May 1.

O'Reilly, 67, had ruled the "no spin zone" on television with a quick smile and an even quicker temper.

O'Reilly's pugnacious personality wasn't just an off-screen affectation, with one of the settlements going to a woman who complained about being shouted at in the newsroom.

The report of the latest claim prompted a statement from Marc E. Kasowitz, an attorney for O'Reilly, who said his client is being targeted by liberal groups who are out to "destroy" him.

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The only way to end harassment is to shine a light on it.

That multiplying effect gave O'Reilly a role in a seismic change, he said.

"Bill O'Reilly has been subjected to a brutal campaign of character assassination that is unprecedented in post-McCarthyist America", Marc Kasowitz said in a statement.

Opening his show, Colbert called O'Reilly - who was recently fired by Fox - "a self-righteous landfill of angry garbage", adding: "We all saw this coming at us, like an old man cornering an intern in the breakroom".

"The coverage on network news-the broadcast networks-has been 89 percent negative", Perino said, insisting former President Barack Obama received "glowing reviews" in his first 100 days.

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