Bill O’Reilly never made it back on air after his Italian vacation. The O’Reilly Factor host was set to return on Monday, but Fox decided to end his era before that happened, much to the delight of those who wanted Fox News to fire O’Reilly over his many years of allegedly predatory behavior toward women. And as it turns out, his eventual undoing was prompted by news of the $13 million cumulative total payout (by both O’Reilly and Fox) to quiet five women who accused him of sexual harassment.
The fact that Fox News dragged their feet on dismissing O’Reilly was likely down to money, since he brought in well over $150 million per year in advertising dollars for his program. In that light, $13 million doesn’t seem too pricey, and Fox is reportedly going to mark O’Reilly’s departure with a nice golden parachute, supposedly to the tune of “tens of millions” of dollars. CNN Money’s Brian Stelter has the scoop:
Bill O’Reilly will be paid tens of millions of dollars on his way out of Fox News. “It is a staggering amount,” said a source personally involved in the exit maneuverings.
21st Century Fox and O’Reilly’s representatives will not acknowledge the existence of a payout. A confidentiality agreement limits what the two sides can say. But two well-placed sources confirmed to CNNMoney that O’Reilly does have a parachute. That’s because O’Reilly signed a new contract right before being ousted.
This isn’t all that surprising to read. After all, Roger Ailes is said to have walked away with $40 million after his sexual harassment scandal. O’Reilly brought Fox News a lot of money over these past two decades, and while he’s no longer useful to them in a monetary sense since the sponsors said goodbye, they’re not gonna let the guy leave empty handed.
The New York Times reports that O’Reilly’s contract re-up was worth at least $18 million per year (and possibly even $25 million annually) and was scheduled to run through the 2020 election. And while the golden parachute’s final number may never be revealed, a $25 million settlement figure has circulated as a possibility.