On Tuesday night’s O’Reilly Factor, Bill O’Reilly announced he was taking a vacation. The announcement comes in the midst of a massive advertiser exodus following revelations that he and Fox News paid millions of dollars to five women who said they were sexually harassed by O’Reilly.
O’Reilly said that he booked this vacation “last fall” and that he often takes vacation “around this time of the year.” He is reportedly scheduled to return in on April 24.
But Gabriel Sherman, a journalist for New York Magazine who literally wrote the book on Fox News, reports that “tonight’s show could be his last.” According to Sherman’s sources, lawyers for Fox News “are currently doing a ‘deep dive’ investigation into O’Reilly’s behavior.”
Sherman also reports that James Murdoch, the CEO of 21st Century Fox, wants O’Reilly gone. Murdoch forced out longtime Fox News CEO Roger Ailes last summer over allegations of sexual misconduct.
Fox News co-president Bill Shine has been working hard to keep O’Reilly, sources said. But O’Reilly’s future is in the hands of the Murdochs. “It’s up to the family,” the senior Fox News staffer said. The Murdochs are presently divided over how to handle it. Two highly-placed Fox News sources say 21st Century Fox CEO James Murdoch would like O’Reilly to be permanently taken off the air, while his father Rupert and older brother Lachlan are more inclined to keep him. (A spokesperson for the Murdochs declined to comment.)
That dynamic – James pushing for swift action, while Rupert resists – played out last summer in the Ailes scandal. James, of course, got his way with Ailes. With more than three dozen advertisers boycotting O’Reilly, Fox staffers speculate the same may happen to O’Reilly, perhaps as early as during his vacation. “The assumption is that he’ll exit in a non-embarrassing way,” one senior Fox News staffer told me.
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