NEW YORK (AFP) – Former Fox anchor Bill O’Reilly will receive an exit payout of as much as US$25 million (S$35 million) after being ousted over sexual harassment allegations, according to American media reports.
Fox did not confirm the sum, equal to about a year’s salary for the populist firebrand.
O’Reilly, a major draw at the news network favored by conservatives, will be replaced in the primetime 8pm slot by Tucker Carlson.
The conservative Carlson, 47, has enjoyed strong ratings at Fox since taking over the 9pm time slot from Megyn Kelly, who left for NBC.
Kelly, who was considered more middle-of-the-road politically than other leading Fox personalities, has also indicated that she was harassed by Roger Ailes, the former chief of the news network, who left Fox in July 2016 under a cloud of sexual harassment allegations.
The successive departures of two such big media names risk further tarnishing the empire of Rupert Murdoch, who is seeking approval from British authorities to purchase full control of British satellite company Sky.
O’Reilly had been in the headlines constantly since an April 1 New York Times investigation revealed that he and Fox had covered up allegations of sexual harassment against him for at least 15 years, paying five women a total of US$13 million in exchange for their silence.
Numerous companies pulled advertisements from O’Reilly’s show in the wake of the revelations.
O’Reilly’s departure may not completely close the book on the scandal. Fox News contributor Julie Roginsky in early April filed suit charging that she was harassed by Ailes.
CNN journalist Alisyn Camerota, who previously worked at Fox, said on the air on Thursday that more women could come forward.
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