Fox News is planning to cut ties with popular host Bill O’Reilly, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday night.
The Journal cited people close to the situation and reported that a final decision could come in the next few days. O’Reilly is on vacation from his popular “The O’Reilly Factor” show on Fox News, but is supposed to return on Monday.
CNN reported earlier Tuesday that the two sides were talking about O’Reilly’s exit from the network. CNN reported that an announcement could come by the end of the week.
New York Magazine reported that the Murdoch family, which owns 21st Century Fox and News Corp., are turning against O’Reilly. Rupert Murdoch, the family’s patriarch, and sons James and Lachlan will make the decision.
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The New York Times reported earlier this month that $13 million has been paid by O’Reilly or the company to five women to settle claims of sexual harassment or other inappropriate behavior.
That report led to an advertiser backlash against O’Reilly and his show. About 50 advertisers pulled their commercials from the program, though his viewership actually increased. O’Reilly has the top-rated show on Fox and it has been the top-rated show in all of cable news.
A lawyer for O’Reilly said the host was being “subjected to a brutal campaign of character assassination that is unprecedented in post-McCarthyist America,” according to CNN.
Roger Ailes resigned in July as Fox News’ chairman due to sexual harassment allegations. The 76-year-old had been accused of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior by more than 10 women.