Bill O'Reilly out at Fox News, network confirms staff via KABC logo
Thursday, April 20, 2017
Host Bill O'Reilly of "The O'Reilly Factor" program, on the Fox News Channel, poses for photos in New York on Oct. 1, 2015.
Host Bill O'Reilly of "The O'Reilly Factor" program, on the Fox News Channel, poses for photos in New York on Oct. 1, 2015.

NEW YORK (KABC) -- Fox News host Bill O'Reilly is leaving the network after 20 years, according to 21st Century Fox.

O'Reilly, who was photographed in Rome shaking the hand of Pope Francis on Wednesday while on vacation, has faced accusations of sexual harassment.

21st Century Fox issued the following statement: "After a thorough and careful review of the allegations, the Company and Bill O'Reilly have agreed that Bill O'Reilly will not be returning to the Fox News Channel."

MORE: Viewership of 'O'Reilly Factor' drops without Bill O'Reilly

Dozens of his show's advertisers fled following reports of harassment settlements paid to other women. A New York Times report released in early April stated 21st Century Fox or O'Reilly paid $13 million to five women to settle cases where the women alleged inappropriate behavior by O'Reilly.

O'Reilly has denied any wrongdoing. He issued a statement regarding his departure from the network.

Over the past 20 years at Fox News, I have been extremely proud to launch and lead one of the most successful news programs in history, which has consistently informed and entertained millions of Americans and significantly contributed to building Fox into the dominant news network in television.

It is tremendously disheartening that we part ways due to completely unfounded claims. But that is the unfortunate reality many of us in the public eye must live with today. I will always look back on my time at Fox with great pride in the unprecedented success we achieved and with my deepest gratitude to all my dedicated viewers. I wish only the best for Fox News Channel.

Marc Kasowitz, O'Reilly's attorney, said his client has been subject to a "brutal campaign of character assassination" that is unprecedented in more than 70 years. He said he had evidence that a smear campaign is being orchestrated by "far-left organizations," but he didn't immediately release any.

In part of an internal moment, 21st Century Fox said, "Lastly, and most importantly, we want to underscore our consistent commitment to fostering a work environment built on the values of trust and respect."

O'Reilly's exit comes just nine months after his former boss Roger Ailes, the former chief of Fox News, was forced out after several claims of sexual harassment, including those by Gretchen Carlson and Megyn Kelly.

O'Reilly's show generated $178 million in advertising revenue in 2015, according to Kantar Media. His audience was larger in the first three months of this year than it has ever been, according to Nielsen.

The Long Island native is also one of the country's most popular nonfiction authors. Plans for O'Reilly and co-author Martin Dugard to release another book in his "Killing" series in September have not changed, a spokeswoman for publisher Henry Holt and Co. said.

The network announced that "Tucker Carlson Tonight" would take over "The O'Reilly Factor" timeslot and will broadcast live from the network's Washington D.C. bureau. In the meantime, "The O'Reilly Factor" would continue this week with guest hosts Dana Perino and Greg Gutfeld.

Carlson, a veteran pundit who has hosted shows on CNN, MSNBC and PBS, had taken over for Megyn Kelly in January when she announced she was moving to NBC News.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.