Fox News host Bill O'Reilly announced Tuesday he's taking a long-planned vacation, but New York magazine's Gabriel Sherman reported there's speculation the embattled star may be gone for good.
According to Sherman, O'Reilly's decision to go off the air amid a reported sex harassment scandal and advertiser boycott "has the appearance of a suspension."
O'Reilly gave no hint of that on his top-rated show, "The O'Reilly Factor."
"Around this time of year, grab some vacation because it's spring and Easter time," he said in his "Tip of the Day" segment Tuesday night. "Last fall I booked a trip that should be terrific, not going to tell you where it is, but we have a contest on billoreilly.com… I'll have a full report when I return."
A Fox News spokesperson told Sherman that O'Reilly will return April 24.
But citing four unnamed network sources, Sherman said talk inside Fox News is that "tonight's show could be his last."
According to Sherman, lawyers hired last summer by 21st Century Fox to investigate former CEO Roger Ailes for sex harassment are now doing a "deep dive" investigation into O’Reilly’s behavior, focusing on sexual harassment claims by O’Reilly guest Wendy Walsh.
O'Reilly’s future now is in the hands of the Murdochs, Sherman reported.
"It's up to the family," one unnamed senior Fox News staffer told Sherman – and they are divided on the issue.
According to Sherman, 21st Century Fox CEO James Murdoch would like O'Reilly to be permanently taken off the air, while his father Rupert and older brother Lachlan are more inclined to keep him. The Murdochs declined to comment to the magazine.
"The assumption is that he'll exit in a non-embarrassing way," the senior Fox News staffer told Sherman.
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