Update: New York’s Gabriel Sherman is reporting that Fox has officially decided to part ways with O'Reilly. According to unnamed sources who were briefed on Wednesday’s board meeting, executives are now trying to determine, “how they can sever the relationship with the country’s highest-rated cable-news host without causing collateral damage to the network.”
It looks like Bill O’Reilly’s “vacation” might be a permanent one. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Fox News is “preparing to cut ties” with the embattled host, and that a board meeting is scheduled for Thursday, where 21st Century Fox’s executive branch is expected to decide his fate.
O’Reilly went on hiatus on April 11, after the New York Times ran a story about the settlement payments Fox made to multiple women who accused O’Reilly of sexual misconduct. Advertisers began pulling out of The O’Reilly Factor, as activist groups started putting pressure on the network to drop O’Reilly.
On Tuesday, New York’s Gabriel Sherman cited unnamed sources who described an internal conflict between Rupert Murdoch and his sons, Lachlan and James, about what to do with their network’s most prominent figure. While the elder Murdoch was reportedly reluctant to show O’Reilly the door, his sons were “leaning toward announcing that O'Reilly will not return to the air.“
O’Reilly’s stunning fall was unthinkable just a few weeks ago. The O’Reilly Factor has consistently been the top-rated show on cable news, and his firebrand persona is irrevocably linked with Fox News’ conservative identity. But the Murdochs’ ousting of Fox News CEO (and alleged sexual predator) Roger Ailes last July, was a departure from the company’s history of ignoring the inappropriate behavior towards women that its top players had long been accused of.
If O’Reilly is indeed let go, it will mark a seismic shift in the media world, where boys often rule, and women are treated as second class citizens.