Media mogul Rupert Murdoch's sons are considering pulling Fox News host Bill O’Reilly off the air amid pressure over sexual harassment accusations, New York Magazine's Gabriel Sherman reported Tuesday.
While James and Lachlan Murdoch have not made a definite decision, they are leaning toward booting O’Reilly, while their father opposes doing so, the report said, causing infighting.
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.
The ad revenue loss as well as protests outside Fox News headquarters have contributed to the momentum for removing O'Reilly, the report said.
In addition, the Murdoch family has a pending $14 billion deal to buy European-based TV provider Sky. The report speculated that removing O’Reilly from air could help the Murdochs gain approval from Ofcom, a British media regulator that will evaluate whether they are “fit and proper” to buy such a large media company.
The Murdoch family ditched their initial takeover attempt of Sky in 2011 after the London phone-hacking scandal broke.
Fox News has come under scrutiny for its treatment of female employees in the workplace. Former CEO Roger Ailes was removed last summer after a sexual harassment scandal.
“Morale is awful,” a female Fox executive reportedly said, adding that “there’s been no word from management to calm the masses,” referring to concerns by employees that budgets were slashed for sexual-harassment settlement payouts.
O’Reilly hosts the network's highest-rated talk show, creating fears about losing viewers if he's booted.
Rupert Murdoch has reportedly said he is reluctant to fire O’Reilly because it would look like The New York Times report forced his hand.
Sherman also broke the story about the Murdoch family’s decision to fire Ailes in July.
Fox News did not immediately respond to The Hill’s request for comment.