Famous TV host 'will not be returning to' channel after two decades
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.
“It is tremendously disheartening that we part ways due to completely unfounded claims," O'Reilly, 67, said in a statement. “But that is the unfortunate reality many of us in the public eye must live with today."
The political commentator hosted the O'Reilly Factor from 1996 to 2017 and turned it into the network's most profitable show, and one of the most successful in the history of cable news.
"I will always look back on my time at Fox with great pride in the unprecedented success we achieved and with my deepest gratitude to all my dedicated viewers. I wish only the best for Fox News Channel," the statement added.
Fox News announced earlier Wednesday it was terminating O'Reilly, who reportedly has had to spend a total of $13 million to settle a number of sexual harassment lawsuits.
"After a thorough and careful review of the allegations, the Company and Bill O'Reilly have agreed that Bill O'Reilly will not be returning to the Fox News Channel," parent company 21st Century Fox said.
O'Reilly was on vacation in Italy at the time, and early Wednesday briefly met Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City.
Last July, Fox News founding CEO Roger Ailes resigned from the network amid sexual harassment allegations and an ongoing lawsuit.
Ailes, 76, launched the network in 1996 and oversaw its development into a high-ratings TV network and an effective PR platform for Republican politics.