Fox execs ‘preparing to cut ties’ with Bill O’Reilly

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Dozens of his show’s advertisers have fled following reports of harassment settlements paid to other women. O’Reilly has denied any wrongdoing. O’Reilly is on a nearly two-week vacation at the same time Fox News Channel’s parent company looks into a woman’s accusation that her career was slowed when she spurned his advances.

Later, Kasowitz said O’Reilly 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.

A spokesman for 21st Century Fox declined to comment to the AP. The Wall Street Journal — a newspaper owned by the same Murdoch family that owns Fox News Channel — reported late Tuesday that Fox executives were “preparing to cut ties” with O’Reilly. Despite the vacation, the pressure is staying on O’Reilly and 21st Century Fox, which is looking into at least one complaint about his behaviour.

O’Reilly’s viewership spiked in the days following an April 2 New York Times report on the harassment allegations. In the week that followed, viewership increased to an average of 3.71 million, up 12% from the week before the report and 28% over the same week in 2016.

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Marc Kasowitz, O’Reilly’s attorney, said that it was “outrageous that an allegation from an anonymous person about something that purportedly happened almost a decade ago is being treated as fact, especially where there is obviously an orchestrated campaign by activists and lawyers to destroy Mr. O’Reilly and enrich themselves through publicity driven donations.”
The woman, who is African-American, said O’Reilly referred to her as “hot chocolate” at one point when they were together alone, made grunting noises and leered at her cleavage and legs, Bloom said. The woman said she never had a direct conversation with O’Reilly.

Earlier, attorney Lisa Bloom said she was representing a former clerical worker at Fox who complained that day to a hotline established at Fox about O’Reilly’s behaviour during her six months working there in 2008.

Carlson usually benefits from O’Reilly’s strong lead-in. The 2.32 million who watched Gutfeld on Friday was down 39% from the previous Friday and, alarmingly, was even lower than Tucker Carlson’s audience at 9 p.m.

Nielsen company figures show that so far, viewers aren’t as interested in “The O’Reilly Factor” without O’Reilly. Bolling also showed a 16% drop from O’Reilly a week earlier, and he reached 3.11 million viewers. Perino has done the best, with her 3.15 million viewers on Monday down 16% from O’Reilly’s performance a week earlier.

5 women reportedly got US$13M to not sue Bill O’Reilly for sexual harassment
The protest against O’Reilly, who has been the subject of numerous sexual harassment allegations and legal settlements, was organized by the women’s group UltraViolet and the New York chapter of National Organization for Women. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images) and Fox News headquarters in Midtown Manhattan, April 18, 2017 in New York City. Demonstrators rally against Fox News television personality Bill O’Reilly outside of the News Corp.

The woman, who is not contemplating any legal action, reported being “very stressed and disillusioned” about her job and believed she would be fired if she complained to anyone, Bloom said.

Bill O’Reilly taking a break amid sponsor backlash

Bloom, who represents another woman who has complained about O’Reilly’s behaviour, said she is not taking payment for the O’Reilly cases.

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Still, the substitutes beat their cable news competition. And Fox pointed out that the network finished last week ahead of all cable networks in viewership, as it has for much of this year.

It wasn’t immediately clear who he was referring to.

Fox News host Bill O’Reilly, ex-CEO Roger Ailes hit with more sexual harassment allegations

Meanwhile on Tuesday, a women’s group said it planned to hire an airplane with a banner, as well as drop off petitions at Fox News Channel’s New York headquarters, calling for O’Reilly to lose his job at the network.
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NEW YORK — Through four days of Bill O’Reilly’s vacation, his show’s viewership declined by 23% in the hands of substitutes Dana Perino, Eric Bolling and Greg Gutfeld.

O’Reilly averaged nearly 4 million viewers a night for the first three months of 2017, his best performance ever. Viewership tends to drop with the arrival of daylight savings time.