Bill O’Reilly, star of America's No 1 cable show the O'Reilly Factor, is taking a vacation in the wake of a reported $13m settlement involving five women who made allegations against him.
He made the announcement at the end of last night’s The O’Reilly Factor. He said he was going on vacation, returning later this month, and announced a “Guess Where Bill Is Going” online contest.
Deadline commented, "This constitutes news because O’Reilly has yet to publicly address a New York Times report that Fox News and its primetime star had, between them, allegedly paid five women nearly $13m in settlements going back 15 years."
More than 70 firms starting with Mercedes pulled ads from the show following the Harassment settlements report - meanwhile his ratings jumped.
After he made his announcement, said Deadline, pundits wondered if he actually would return; if it had, in fact, been planned in advance; if the vacay would help quell the controversy and the major advertiser bailout from his program
"Also, what exactly did O’Reilly mean when he said, “We all need R&R. Put it to good use?”
Fox News parent, 21st Century Fox will investigate the sexual harassment claims, the lawyer of one of his accusers said on Sunday on CNN’s Reliable Sources.
In the early stages of the advertiser bailout, Fox News was said to be working with the companies “to address their current concerns about The O’Reilly Factor,” A Fox spokesman added, “At this time, the ad buys of those clients have been re-expressed into other FNC programs.”
Presumably, said Deadline, while O’Reilly is vacationing, President Donald Trump will continue to stand by his longtime friend. Trump recently told The New York Times , “I don’t think Bill did anything wrong.”
“He’s a person I know well; he’s a good person,” Trump said of O’Reilly, adding that the primetime host’s only mistake was in settling the claims. “I think he shouldn’t have settled, personally. I think he shouldn’t have settled. Because you should have taken it all the way.”
The O’Reilly Factor has been the most-watched program in the cable news landscape for 14 years, recently clocking its highest-rated quarter ever.
When Fox News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes exited last summer in a hail of sexual harassment allegations, parent 21st Century Fox pledged zero tolerance for any behavior that “disrespects women or contributes to an uncomfortable work environment.”
The company recently upped O’Reilly’s contract and, NYT, in its report, said some of the payments were made since Ailes’ exit.