Bill O'Reilly cut from Fox News

(AP Photo/Richard Drew, File).

In this combination photo, Fox News Channel personality Bill O'Reilly appears at The Hollywood Reporter's "35 Most Powerful People in Media" celebration on April 6, 2016, in NY, left, and Pope Francis leaves after celebrating Mass in Piazza Martiri Square, in Carpi, northern Italy, on April 2, 2017. "Fox News has demonstrated again and again the strength of its talent bench. "Bill O'Reilly is leaving, as of today".

Fox News sets the agenda for the Republican Party, Binning said, and losing one of their most iconic voices could affect that.

Built by Australian-born American media baron Rupert Murdoch two decades ago into the leading cable news channel, it has drawn praise from conservatives and vitriol from liberals.

It is not known exactly how Fox News would handle O'Reilly's exit or whether he would be allowed to say goodbye to viewers on the air, according to the NY magazine report.

"I don't think that these comments were focused from a sexual standpoint", Greene said.

Elsewhere in the media, though, the revelation was a big topic among journalists and media executives, with many wondering if O'Reilly - long seen as invincible for his ability to weather previous controversies - might actually lose his job. The end is coming.

In addition to hosting "The Factor", O'Reilly has also written a series of historical narratives, including "Killing Jesus" and "Killing Lincoln", that have each sold more than 1 million copies in hardcover. His audience was larger in the first three months of this year than it has ever been, according to Nielsen.

He and the network ultimately paid $13 million to settle with five women over the course of several years, according to an investigation by The New York Times published earlier this month.

This story has been corrected to show that the downfall of O'Reilly began with an April 1, not April 2 report in The New York Times.

The decision to sack Mr O'Reilly appears to have been made between Tuesday and Wednesday by the Murdoch family, which controls the operations of 21st Century Fox.

"He was the voice for many conservatives in the United States", Binning said.

With a profit centre gone, 21st Century Fox stock fell nearly 1% on Wednesday in heavy trading.

The announcement came just hours after the combative and right-wing television personality was photographed shaking hands with Pope Francis in St Peters Square on holiday in Rome.

O'Reilly released a statement on his departure from the network Wednesday afternoon, saying, in part, "It is tremendously disheartening that we part ways due to completely unfounded claims".

The announcement comes at hard time for Fox News, whose former chairman Roger Ailes resigned previous year after a sexual harassment lawsuit by former anchor Gretchen Carlson.

"If white people don't have it good in the US, then which race does?"

Don't expect O'Reilly to slip quietly away, said Annenberg's Hollihan.

Others figure that O'Reilly's firing won't be a sticking point for most Fox viewers. He has also had best-sellers with everything from the memoir "A Bold Fresh Piece of Humanity" to his most recent work, "Old School", which includes passages urging the respectful treatment of women.

"I said, "Look, I am willing to give this another try, ' and he said, 'Sure" and I came on the show", Powers said. Caroline Heldman, a professor at Occidental College, and guest on the O'Reilly Factor reportedly called the Fox News hotline on Wednesday to make her allegations official against the former network ratings star. You failed him, you failed Bill O'Reilly.

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