CNN has reported that ousted Fox News host Bill O'Reilly will be paid millions upon his exit from the company. According to the CNN report, a source close to the severance proceedings said O'Reilly's payout is "a staggering amount." Three independent (and anonymous) sources reportedly declined to name the exact sum of the payout, but did say that O'Reilly signed a contract just prior to his exit from the network — a contract worth $25 million a year. The sources said that the contract was set to continue through the 2020 presidential election, but that O'Reilly will not be paid the full sum of that contract.
The $25 million sum of O'Reilly's payout has also been floated by journalists outside of CNN as well.
Bustle has reached out to 21st Century Fox, Fox News' parent company, regarding this reported sum. CNN also reported that they'd reached out to 21st Century Fox and O'Reilly representatives without response. CNN reporter Brian Stelter, who broke this story, noted in his piece that both sides are limited by confidentiality agreements.
While these reports are making waves online, the sources remain anonymous, which is likely due to confidentiality and job security concerns. As of press time, neither O'Reilly nor representatives from Fox News' parent company have confirmed or denied the alleged payout and its sum.
Along with the original CNN report, the Financial Times also reported that the O'Reilly payout will total $25 million, and included a quote from yet another anonymous source:
The amended contract provides for Bill to receive a maximum of one year’s salary.
Reports of O'Reilly's alleged payout came the day after news broke that conservative host was leaving Fox News amid allegations of sexual harassment and a subsequent loss of advertisers. O'Reilly denied all claims of harassment. At the beginning of April, the New York Times reported that O'Reilly and Fox shelled out $13 million in lawsuit settlements involving the pundit, some of which included sexual harassment. The day before the announcement of O'Reilly's departure from Fox, another woman came forward anonymously alleging that O'Reilly sexually harassed her.
In a memo circulated within Fox regarding O'Reilly on April 19, the organization discussed their future without the popular host and his legacy at the network:
By ratings standards, Bill O'Reilly is one of the most accomplished TV personalities in the history of cable news. 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.
The alleged O'Reilly payout mirrors that of former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes, who left the company in 2016 over lawsuits that alleged similar misconduct by female employees. (Ailes also denies all allegations of sexual harassment.) Ailes' payout was reportedly $40 million, and the firing and subsequent severance pay of both of these influential figures at Fox has troubled many. Though O'Reilly (and Ailes) have both exited the company with checks in hand, it's likely that we haven't seen the last of this ongoing saga.