With only six days remaining in Bill O’Reilly’s vacation, the pressure on the Murdoch family to decide the embattled commentator’s fate is intensifying. Three sources with knowledge of the discussions said that, while no final decision has been made, the Murdochs are leaning toward announcing that O’Reilly will not return to the air.
The prospect of dumping O’Reilly – once unimaginable – has gained steam this week due in part to street protests outside Fox News headquarters and advertiser boycotts on O’Reilly’s air. One network insider said Fox executives are alarmed by the severity of the ad-revenue decline.
“It’s worse than Glenn Beck,” the insider said, referring to the advertiser revolt that helped derail Beck’s Fox News career in 2011.
The Murdochs are also dealing with a restive workplace. Female Fox News employees are growing increasingly frustrated that the Murdochs have not forcefully confronted the company’s culture of sexual harassment in the wake of removing Roger Ailes.
“Morale is awful,” one Fox female executive told me yesterday, adding that employees are wondering if budgets have been cut to pay for sexual-harassment settlements. “There’s been no word from management to calm the masses.”
Initially, according to sources, Lachlan was aligned with his father, but in recent days he has leaned more in his brother James’s direction. “The three are fighting,” the insider said.
In some ways, deciding O’Reilly’s fate is more complicated than the decision to oust Ailes last summer. O’Reilly is Fox’s highest-rated host and the linchpin of the prime-time schedule, so his removal could have immediate effects on the network’s ratings.
And btw, the Wall Street Journal, that is owned by Rupert Murdoch had this as a headline on Tuesday.
Fox Is Preparing to Cut Ties With Bill O’Reilly
By Joe Flint
April 18, 2017 9:50 p.m. ET
Fox News is preparing to cut ties with its biggest star, Bill O’Reilly, according to people close to the situation.
The Washington Times and Matt Drudge are also saying O’Reilly will be fired.
With Mr. O’Reilly, so many shoes have dropped that he’s looking like Imelda Marcos. Just two weeks ago, The New York Times reported that Fox paid out $13 million to five women who accused the bombastic bloviator of sexual harassment. O’Reilly told The Times that he settled only to avoid hurting his family.
Well, that isn’t what an innocent man would do. Accuse me of sexual harassment and we’re going all the way to the Supreme Court if we have to. I’m not paying a dime if I’m not guilty. Only guilty people pay out settlements, which are better known by this term: hush money.
Matt Drudge also sees the end coming, writing this:
“O’Reilly has had tremendous run. Very few in the business get to decide when and how things end. Media is most brutal of all industries,” Drudge tweeted out minutes after the hot chocolate story hit the web.
Drudge is right, except Billy isn’t exactly deciding when and how things end, although he can’t be surprised – after his despicable actions – when the hammer comes down.