Report: Fox News Payout to O’Reilly Will Be in the Tens of Millions

Bill O'Reilly / Getty

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Cable news host Bill O'Reilly will reportedly receive tens of millions of dollars in a payout as he departs Fox News.

Two sources independently told CNN on Thursday that O'Reilly's parachute came from a $25 million contract he signed just before his ouster. Previous news reports have said O'Reilly's past contract was between $18 and $20 million per year.

The current contract was expected to extend through the next presidential election to either 2020 or 2021, the sources said.

O'Reilly will not be paid the full amount owed in the contract, due to language included in the documents that give Fox News "outs," one of the sources said.

The New York Times reported later on Thursday that O'Relly's payout could be as high as $25 million.

Roger Ailes, the former CEO of Fox News who resigned last summer amid accusations of sexual harassment, was paid the remainder of his contract upon resignation.

Neither 21st Century Fox, which owns Fox News, nor representatives of O'Reilly would comment on the payout. Their comments are ostensibly limited by a non-disclosure agreement.

O'Reilly's departure comes in the wake of a New York Times investigation into allegations of sexual harassment against him. The article prompted the loss of numerous advertisers from O'Reilly's show, "The O'Reilly Factor," and new accusations of harassment.

Fox News parted ways with O'Reilly on Wednesday, when 21st Century Fox made the announcement.

According to CNN, the Murdoch family, which runs the network and its parent company, was aware of the impending Times story, which is why the language allowing a less-than-full payout was put in the contract. One source said that although they were aware, the Murdochs underestimated how "severe" the fallout would be.

O'Reilly subsequently released a statement in which he alluded to the sexual harassment allegations as "unfounded claims."

"It is tremendously disheartening that we part ways due to completely unfounded claims. But that is the unfortunate reality many of us in the public eye must live with today," the top-rated cable host said.

"I will always look back on my time at Fox with great pride in the unprecedented success we achieved and with my deepest gratitude to all my dedicated viewers. I wish only the best for Fox News Channel," O'Reilly added.

UPDATE 2:45 P.M.This post was updated to reflect the New York Times reporting on O'Reilly's buyout.

Charles Fain Lehman

Charles Fain Lehman   Email Charles | Full Bio | RSS
Charles Fain Lehman is a staff writer for the Washington Free Beacon. He writes about policy, especially crime, law, drugs, and social issues. Reach him on twitter (@CharlesFLehman) or by email at lehman@freebeacon.com.

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