Bill O’Reilly hasn’t been on the air for several days. Most speculation is that it relates to the sexual harassment claims against the longtime Fox host. The network settled with complaining parties who alleged that he had sexually harassed women before and after Roger Ailes’ scandals erupted.
Sources close to the Murdoch family are now leaking out to other news outlets that the family, who owns the network, doesn’t want him back on the air at all. Via New York Magazine:
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. Sons James and Lachlan have been arguing that O’Reilly needs to go, say these sources, though their father, Rupert, has resisted that outcome.
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
The article linked above also goes on to say that the family is looking at its $14 billion deal to purchase Sky TV in Europe – a huge pay-to-watch service. A media regulator is set to determine whether or not the Murdochs are “fit” to own and run the service, and the thinking, according to the article, is that cutting O’Reilly loose shows that they are ready to appease critics and make the deal work.
Previously, it was considered impossible that the network would cut O’Reilly, who is one of the longest-tenured personalities they have, but the advertiser revenue lost is apparently enough to worry them.
Still, it’s unclear which way the Murdochs will go. It should be noted, however, that the situation presented in the excerpt above – the sons arguing O’Reilly needs to go and the father resisting the idea – mirrors the Ailes situation. The sons appear to have won that battle, and they could very well win this one, too.
O’Reilly has denied the claims made in the sexual harassment suits, maintaining that the settlements prove nothing.
EDIT: This story previously stated that O’Reilly had not been on the air since the claims against O’Reilly were settled. A representative of Fox News reached out to RedState to correct that, saying that O’Reilly was out just three days last week.