Fox News star Bill O’Reilly’s days with the network are numbered, according to media reports Tuesday.
CNN, citing “a well-placed source,” reported that representatives for Fox News and O’Reilly are in talks “about an exit.” The cable news network added that the report had “prompted a denial from sources in O’Reilly’s camp.”
According to New York magazine’s sources, James and Lachlan Murdoch believe that the Fox News commentator, who is currently on vacation, should be fired. Their father, Rupert Murdoch, has pushed against this, saying that it would appear that O’Reilly’s firing was because of the New York Times.
The Wall Street Journal, citing people close to the situation, reported on Tuesday that Fox News is preparing to cut ties with the “O’Reilly Factor” host. The decision to move away from O’Reilly could “come as early as the next several days,” according to Wall Street Journal reporter Joe Flint.
Advertisers started dropping O’Reilly’s show after allegations that he sexually harassed several women.
While the Murdochs have not yet made a decision, Fox is making plans for its lineup without O’Reilly, NPR reported.
A statement from Marc Kasowitz, O’Reilly’s attorney, said the host has been subject to a “brutal campaign of character assassination” that is unprecedented in more than 70 years. He said he had evidence that a smear campaign is being orchestrated by “far-left organizations,” but he didn’t immediately release any.
The story about the Murdochs potentially dropping O’Reilly broke following protests Tuesday outside of Fox News headquarters in New York. Survivors of sexual assault and harassment, as well as members from the women’s advocacy group Ultra violet, called for Fox to fire O’Reilly. Planes flew overhead with banners attached that read, “FOX: #DROPOREILLY, THE SEXUAL PREDATOR.”
“For years, Fox News executives have provided cover for Bill O’Reilly’s systematic harassment and abuse of other Fox News employees — making it hard to take their promises to investigate such crimes seriously,” Shaunna Thomas, co-founder of UltraViolet, said in a statement. “Fox News needs to prove to the public — and its advertisers — that the era of covering up sexual assault is over. That means firing Bill O’Reilly immediately and conducting a comprehensive and independent investigation into sexual abuse at the network.”