Could Bill O’Reilly’s prime time 8 o’clock slot be up for grabs?
Perhaps so. On the April 11 episode, O’Reilly announced he would be taking a “vacation.” During his show, he tried to convince viewers that this was a long planned vacation. O’Reilly’s spokesperson, Mark Fabiani, tried to do the same in this statement.
‘The arrangements, including airline and hotel reservations, for this vacation were made last October. The vacation involves a group of people, and the timing coincides with the period Mr. O’Reilly often takes off in and around his children’s spring break. Other than the vacation guest hosts, The Factor broadcast will remain unchanged until Mr. O’Reilly’s return post-vacation.’
Sounds enough like a legitimate reason. However, the timing is just off. On April 1, the New York Times broke the story that O’Reilly had paid over $10 million in court settlements to women who accused him of sexual harassment. They wrote:
‘An investigation by The New York Times has found a total of five women who have received payouts from either Mr. O’Reilly or the company in exchange for agreeing to not pursue litigation or speak about their accusations against him. The agreements totaled about $13 million.’
Furthermore, they included that two of the settlements were after former Fox CEO Roger Ailes was accused of sexual harassment and ultimately let go. Fox News has faced intense scrutiny since then in allowing such behavior to go on behind the scenes.
O’Reilly really is in the biggest, most sour pickle that he could ever find himself in. On one hand, yes, he is Fox News’ leading man with a cable news show that is number one in ratings. However, Fox News has already had so much bad PR, they have to promote the image that they staunchly refuse to allow sexual harassment to women and that women are treated equally by the men.
For that reason, it makes sense that New York Magazine reported the same lawyers that investigated the Ailes scandal are being used to investigate the claims against O’Reilly. Furthermore, they reported one Fox News staffer said O’Reilly’s fate is up to the Murdochs. They reported that the youngest of the Murdoch’s wants to see O’Reilly taken off the air; however, his older brother and father, Lachlan and Rupert, want to keep O’Reilly.
With advertisers boycotting the prime time hour, they may be forced into letting O’Reilly go – or at least letting him resign/fake retirement, etc. Letting him go on “vacation” sounds about as painless as it can get. If anything, one must remember this. When Forrest Gump asked his mother what vacation meant (where his daddy went), she said, “Vacation’s when you go somewhere… and you never come back.” So, perhaps, that’s where O’Reilly will go… vacation.
You can watch O’Reilly’s comments about going on vacation below.
Featured image by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images.