Allegations of sexual harassment against Bill O’Reilly brought the Fox News ratings king to the brink of being fired. And it turns out two powerful women aided in ultimately ending his career at the network.
Sarah and Kathryn Murdoch, the wives of the sons of media mogul Rupert Murdoch, were said to be infuriated over the O’Reilly situation and were apparently instrumental in convincing their husbands that O’Reilly must be fired, according to the New York Daily News.
“These women have unique access and complete trust [of their husbands],” a Fox News executive told Don Kaplan of the Daily News’ MediaBlast. “They’re very progressive and the O’Reilly situation has infuriated them.”
Fox News had to begin to take a serious look at dumping O’Reilly following a scathing New York Times article that reported O’Reilly and Fox News had paid some $13 million in settlements to five women who had accused O’Reilly of sexual harassment.
As dozens of advertisers began to pull their ads from “The O’Reilly Factor,” pressure mounted on Fox News to make a move.
Sarah Murdoch, 44, who Kaplan describes as a progressive-minded, British-born, Australian model, helped to convince her husband Lachlan, co-chairman of Fox News Channel parent, 21st Century Fox, that O’Reilly should be overthrown. Previously, Lachlan had sided with his father, who wanted O’Reilly, the network’s top money maker, to stay.
Behind the scenes, Kaplan reported, Sarah and James Murdoch’s wife, Kathryn, pushed to sever the network’s ties to O’Reilly.
While the Murdoch men oversee a news network that leans heavily to the right, their wives are quite progressive. According to Kaplan, Kathryn and James Murdoch are the co-founders of the charity Qudrivium, which funds progressive causes like environmental protection, science, childhood health and equal opportunity in the workplace.
Kathryn Murdoch serves as the fund’s president.