O'Reilly blames 'unfounded claims' for Fox News ouster

O'Reilly blames 'unfounded claims' for Fox News ouster
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Bill O'Reilly blamed his Fox News ouster on "unfounded claims" on Wednesday, hours after the conservative cable channel announced his departure.

“It is tremendously disheartening that we part ways due to completely unfounded claims," O’Reilly wrote according to reports.

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O'Reilly attributed part of the problem to his celebrity, calling it "the unfortunate reality many of us in the public eye must live with today."

O'Reilly, who had hosted "The O'Reilly Factor" on Fox since 2001, praised his company and loyal viewers for their support.

“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.”

"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,” the network wrote in a statement earlier Wednesday.

O’Reilly’s show lost about 90 advertisers after The New York Times reported earlier this month that five women were paid $13 million to settle sexual harassment suits against him.

Rupert Murdoch, chairman of 21st Century Fox and Fox News, sent a memo to Fox News staff on Wednesday afternoon to address O’Reilly’s departure.

"By ratings standards, Bill O’Reilly is one of the most accomplished TV personalities in the history of cable news," Murdoch wrote in the memo obtained by The Hill. "In fact, his success by any measure is indisputable. Fox News has demonstrated again and again the strength of its talent bench. We have full confidence that the network will continue to be a powerhouse in cable news.”

O’Reilly’s ouster from Fox is a major shake-up in the media world, as the spotlight fades for Fox's prime-time star and a major conservative influencer.

New York Magazine’s Gabriel Sherman first reported the Fox News decision to remove O’Reilly, saying top network executives want to figure out how to end the relationship “without causing collateral damage to the network.”

Fox has announced Tucker Carlson's show will replace O’Reilly’s in the coveted 8 p.m. time slot.