PHILADELPHIA (CBS)–After a series of sexual harassment allegations, dropped sponsorships and plenty of folks calling for his job, cable TV’s most popular host Bill O’Reilly will no longer rule the roost at Fox News.
“I thought that was harsh, but I admire firm decisions,” said John Tumas of South Jersey.
Philly resident Jamie Lowstetter added, “From a PR standpoint, it’s probably a good move.”
Cierra Carter of North Philly disagrees. “There’s absolutely no proof and there’s no reason to fire somebody for unproven allegations.”
Following Wednesday’s announcement, O’Reilly called the decision “disheartening” especially based on what he calls “unfounded claims.”
“He’s obviously going to defend himself,” said Dave Montenegro of Center City.
But, will he do so in court? A New York Times investigation uncovered up to $13 million in settlements to five different women all paid out by O’Reilly and Fox.
So, is it an admission of guilt?
“Any kind of formal payout – aka hush money – it definitely makes something seem fishy,” said Montenegro.
Legal experts say a settlement does not suggest wrongdoing and are often advised as a way to save time, money and emotional distress.
Alan Epstein, an employment attorney here in Philadelphia told Eyewitness News he agrees that settlements are not an admission of guilt, but believes the nature of the allegations, along with the high-priced settlement could indicate that attorneys for O’Reilly and Fox felt he was in great jeopardy and would not win in court.
Epstein says it could also suggest that something physical went down, an incident that would result in high emotional stress damages for the victims.