Fox News Host Bill O'Reilly Takes Vacation Following Harassment Claims

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Television host Bill O'Reilly attends the Hollywood Reporter's 2016 35 Most Powerful People in Media at Four Seasons Restaurant on April 6, 2016 in New York City. O'Reilly announced he is taking a "vacation" amid harassment claims. Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images

Fox News host Bill O’Reilly announced Tuesday evening that he is taking a “vacation”, as advertisers abandoned his show amid sexual harassment allegations.

At the end of his top-rated show The O’Reilly Factor, the host said he scheduled the trip last fall.

Around this time of year, he explained, “I grab some vacation, because it’s spring and Easter time. Last fall, I booked a trip that should be terrific.”

Allegations of sexual harassment surfaced in April, when the New York Times reported that Fox News and O’Reilly had paid $13 million to five women as settlement for sexual harassment complaints.

Fox News told reporters O’Reilly would return to hosting the show on April 24. O’Reilly’s spokesman, Mark Fabiani, told CNNMoney that “vacation guest hosts” would take O’Reilly’s place during his absence.

The New York Times , citing data from ad-tracking firm iSpot TV, reported that in the week after the sexual harassment allegations surfaced, O’Reilly’s show lost almost half of its advertisers. According to the data, in March more than 15 minutes of the show were bought by marketers, while in the weeks after the allegations surfaced the time had fallen to under seven minutes.

The women who made complaints about O’Reilly either worked for him or appeared on his show. They complained about a range of behaviour, including unwanted sexual advances, verbal abuse, and phone calls in which it sounded as though O’Reilly was masturbating, according to documents and interviews.

Fox News has announced that it is conducting an independent inquiry into allegations that O’Reilly harassed Wendy Walsh, a Los Angeles radio personality and former guest on The O’Reilly Factor . Walsh is not one of the five women who received part of the $13 million payout.

O’Reilly has claimed that he settled the lawsuit to spare his children “the pain of a public ordeal” and he was targeted because he’s a public figure.

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