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Bill O’Reilly signed off The O’Reilly Factor on Tuesday night, telling viewers that he is about to take a pre-planned vacation.
The Fox News host assured viewers that his trip was planned long ago, as he takes a vacation “often around this time of year,” in order to dispel any notion that it was a forced suspension.
“I grab some vacation, because it’s spring and Easter time,” said O’Reilly, adding that he had booked this trip “last fall.” He even has a contest on his website called “Guess Where Bill’s Going.”
“I’ll have a full report when I return,” he said. “We all need R&R.”
The current plan is for O’Reilly to return April 24.
His show has been losing advertisers since The New York Times published an investigative exposé that revealed five women who alleged O’Reilly had sexually harassed or verbally abused them had received $13 million in payments in exchange for not pursuing litigation or speaking publicly about the accusations.
Over two dozen companies — including Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai, BMW and Allstate — have pulled advertisements from the Fox show in light of accusations against O’Reilly.
One of the accusers, radio host Dr. Wendy Walsh, claimed that rebuffing O’Reilly’s sexual advances cost her a job as a paid contributor at Fox News.
O’Reilly previously dismissed the charges in a statement posted to his official site soon after the report was published.
“Just like other prominent and controversial people, I’m vulnerable to lawsuits from individuals who want me to pay them to avoid negative publicity. In my more than 20 years at Fox News Channel, no one has ever filed a complaint about me with the Human Resources Department, even on the anonymous hotline,” the statement read.
“But most importantly, I’m a father who cares deeply for my children and who would do anything to avoid hurting them in any way. And so I have put to rest any controversies to spare my children,” the statement continued. “The worst part of my job is being a target for those who would harm me and my employer, the Fox News Channel. Those of us in the arena are constantly at risk, as are our families and children. My primary efforts will continue to be to put forth an honest TV program and to protect those close to me.”
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