News Worms
News Worms

Advertisers are fleeing Bill O'Reilly, but viewers aren't

Advertisers are fleeing Bill O'Reilly, but viewers aren't

O'Reilly announced on air Tuesday that he will be taking almost two weeks off from hosting the "O'Reilly Factor" amid an ongoing controversy over sexual harassment allegations.

O'Reilly has been under scrutiny since April 1, when the New York Times detailed the host's settlements of harassment allegations with five women totaling at least $13 million. Last fall, he added, "I booked a trip that should be terrific".

O'Reilly's holiday until 24 April follows a wave of companies pulling advertisements from his prime-time show, the cable news channel's biggest. Apparently, multiple "highly placed" sources within Fox News have confirmed that 21st Century Fox CEO James Murdoch wants O'Reilly taken off the network "permanently", despite the fact that his father Rupert and older brother Lachlan want to keep O'Reilly around.

Following multiple allegations of harassment (he has denied those allegations), some lost love from advertisers, and a painfully-timed book release on "family values", Bill O'Reilly is taking a vacation from The O'Reilly Factor.

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Meanwhile, Fox has asked the law firm Paul, Weiss to conduct an internal investigation into O'Reilly's treatment of Wendy Walsh, a former guest on "The O'Reilly Factor" who alleges that the host sexually harassed her.

In response to this scandal, a growing number of advertisers have pulled their sponsorship of The O'Reilly Factor.

Another former Fox News host, Andrea Tantaros, named O'Reilly in a lawsuit a year ago claiming he and other network executives had subjected her to unwanted sexual advances.

Announcing the break at the end of Tuesday's show, O'Reilly said the vacation was planned and long in the works. (Walsh was not one of them.) O'Reilly has disputed the merits of the accusations.

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Mr O'Reilly admits the pay-outs, but claims he was targeted because of his fame. "If you could possibly take two good trips a year, it'll refresh your life", he said.

Despite assurances of his return, an abrupt mid-week vacation coming as an advertising boycott has claimed over 60 sponsors creates obvious questions about O'Reilly's future with the network. That's up 12 percent from the 3.31 million viewers he averaged the week before.

However, Bloomberg counters with a report that Fox is planning for O'Reilly to return to the show after his vacation.

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