Fox News and Bill O'Reilly officially parted ways on Wednesday amid allegations of sexual harassment, which O'Reilly adamantly denies. The prime-time star had been off Fox News since April 12, and was due to come back from a vacation on Monday. But now, O'Reilly will be replaced by Tucker Carlson. Carlson's own entry into Fox News' network took place after another major shakeup. In January, he filled in the space left by Megyn Kelly, who described her departure from the network for NBC as a "tough decision."
The announcement that O'Reilly was being ousted from the network arrived in a statement from 21st Century Fox: "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." O'Reilly released a statement of his own, stating, "It is tremendously disheartening that we part ways due to completely unfounded claims."
Carlson will be taking up O'Reilly's 8 p.m. slot on April 24, according to Fox News. His own 9 p.m. slot will be replaced by The Five, a show that hosts a roundtable of commentators on different issues.
This is not, however, the first time Carlson's slot has changed. In the past four months, according to the New York Times, Carlson has replaced three mega-personalities at Fox News. Apart from Kelly and O'Reilly, he also replaced Greta van Susteren, whose departure from the news network was reportedly less than pleasant. According to CNN Money, there was internal tension over Susteren's decision to renegotiate her contract.
O'Reilly's sudden departure from Fox News arrives after over 50 advertisers pulled their ads from the news network. The decisions of each company took place after the allegations of sexual harassment against O'Reilly gained prominence in media.
An investigative report published in the New York Times reported how Fox News and 21st Century Fox had allegedly remained on O'Reilly's side even as accusations of inappropriate behavior grew. The statement from 21st Century Fox is coming after growing public resentment about O'Reilly's alleged behavior. Bustle has reached out to Fox News for comment.
As Fox News scrambles to retain an image of "respect" and "truth," it is clear that O'Reilly's replacement will have to be much more than just a simple rescheduling of time slots and on-air content.
Consumers of news, whether they admit it or not, carry strong expectations of the networks they ideologically align with — whether they are liberal or conservative. One look at the O'Reilly controversy shows how it's clear that no one, including a massive news network, wants to be associated with an individual accused of sexual misconduct, even if he is steadfast in his denial.