In this Oct. 1, 2015, file photo, Bill O’Reilly of the Fox News Channel program “The O’Reilly Factor,” poses for photos in New York. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

Bill O’Reilly is out at Fox News.

Good riddance.

Fox News Channel’s parent company 21st Century Fox finally fired O’Reilly on Wednesday following an investigation into sexual harassment allegations.

This brings to and end cable news’ most popular program and a controversial personality that came to define the Fox News network for over 20 years.

The downfall of O’Reilly began with an April 2 report in the New York Times which reported that five women had been paid a total of $13 million in settlements to keep quiet about claims of sexual harassment and other inappropriate behavior by the network’s most popular and lucrative star.

The Times reported that O’Reilly or 21st Century Fox have paid $13 million to five women since 2002 “in exchange for agreeing to not pursue litigation or speak about their accusations against him.”

In response to the Times report, O’Reilly said that he is “vulnerable to lawsuits” because of his high-profile job.

The Times story said more than 60 people were interviewed, including current and former employees of Fox News or its parent company and people who know the women behind the complaints or are close to O’Reilly. Most demanded anonymity.

This is not the first time O’Reilly has been accused of being a sexual predator. O’Reilly has been the subject of multiple accusations of sexual harassment dating back years.

The key difference is that this time advertisers fled his show and public protests flared after the Times investigation. At least 50 major brands including Mercedes-Benz and Allstate others were increasingly declining to associate with O’Reilly.

It is clear that Fox News has a problem that goes beyond O’Reilly. There is serious question as to whether the conservative network tolerates sexual harassment against women.

21st Century Fox is still dealing with the legal fallout from sexual harassment charges against former Fox News head Roger Ailes.

Former Fox anchor Gretchen Carlson sued Ailes last summer, alleging harassment and retaliation. Fox’s parent company paid Carlson $20 million and issued a public apology.

On O’Reilly, Fox initially backed their star but the growing financial fallout forced the network to finally act.

http://www.phillytrib.com/commentary/good-riddance-to-bill-o-reilly/article_9c9b7725-bf52-5982-82a0-810b00c1e43c.html

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