Internal memo on Bill O'Reilly sent to Fox News employees

A caricature of Bill O'Reilly dating back to a previous sexual harassment accusation — back in 2004

His trip came as Fox News Channel's parent company 21st Century Fox is investigating sexual harassment allegations against him.

When asked, "Will O'Reilly be returning to the Factor on April 24?", the Murdochs' top spokesperson did not respond. Carlson's show had been moved earlier this year to replace "The Kelly File" with Megyn Kelly, another Fox News star who left for NBC in January.

The New York Times reported on April 1 that Fox and O'Reilly paid five women a total of $13 million to settle harassment claims.

Details from one of those settlements were already public. Mackris also claimed that O'Reilly threatened her: "If any woman ever breathed a word I'll make her pay so dearly that she'll wish she'd never been born".

O'Reilly announced last week he was going on a planned vacation that he'd booked months previous. In the wake of the Times' report, at least 60 advertisers told Fox to remove their commercials from "The O'Reilly Factor". Dozens of his show's advertisers fled, even though O'Reilly's viewership increased.

Citing trusted network sources, several news outlets have reported that Fox News Channel execs are leaning toward firing the longtime host amid new allegations he sexually harassed a Black female co-worker. Carlson's current spot will be filled by "The Five", a roundtable-discussion themed show featuring hosts Dana Perino, Kimberly Guilfoyle, Juan Williams, Jesse Watters, Bob Beckel, and Greg Gutfeld.

So until this week, there was still speculation that, owing to his stature, O'Reilly could ride out this wave of bad publicity.

But conversations inside Fox have already turned to possible O'Reilly successors.

Today's decision seemed unimaginable a few short weeks ago, given O'Reilly's long reign as the top-rated host in cable news.

All of this is a reaction to a New York Times story about the settlement payments that O'Reilly, Fox and 21st Century Fox paid to women who accused O'Reilly of sexual harassment and verbal abuse.

In a letter to employees, Rupert Murdoch and his sons Lachlan and James, who run 21st Century Fox, said the decision "follows an extensive review done in collaboration with outside counsel".

O'Reilly's lawyers said he was the victim of an orchestrated campaign by liberal organizations like Media Matters for America, which contacted his advertisers to pressure them to leave the show.

So far, Fox News has marched on - seemingly as strong as ever - without Ailes, Van Susteren and Kelly. The crack in the proverbial dam, however, came when Fox News head Roger Ailes was sacked for his own sexual harassment scandal. All these companies have been replaced by what Kantar calls "opportunistic purchasers of remnant inventory" - small brands advertising less glamorous stuff like arthritis cream and home health aides. "That's bigger than O'Reilly", he said. "I look forward to even more success in the coming years".

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