"Late Show" host Stephen Colbert reprised his "Colbert Report" character to both celebrate and mourn Fox News' decision to drop Bill O'Reilly.
Having satirized the conservative point of view for years on the "Colbert Report," Stephen Colbert could both celebrate and mourn the firing of Bill O'Reilly by Fox News.
"He's been a guest on this show, and I take no pleasure in his downfall. I'm not going to sit here and publicly gloat," Colbert said on Wednesday's "Late Show" before instructing the crew to take the camera off him so he could privately gloat.
O'Reilly's exit comes after an explosive report by The New York Times found that Fox and O'Reilly had paid $13 million in settlements to women who had accused the host of making unwanted sexual advances, as well as new accusations of sexual harassment and an exodus of more than 20 advertisers from the time slot of "The O'Reilly Factor."
O'Reilly said last week he was taking a previously planned vacation. But on Wednesday, Fox issued a statement confirming that he would "not be returning to the Fox News Channel."
"It's not that big of a surprise," Colbert said of O'Reilly's history of sexual-harassment allegations. "We all saw this coming at us like an old man cornering an intern in the break room."
"The O'Reilly Factor" was the top-rated program across all the cable news networks for more than a decade. Colbert gave credit to O'Reilly's popularity when the audience booed the part of Fox's statement calling O'Reilly "one of the most accomplished TV personalities in cable news history."
"By ratings standards, he is," Colbert said. "By moral standards, he was a self-righteous landfill of angry garbage."
But Colbert had to pay some homage to O'Reilly, saying he had based part of his "Colbert Report" character on the conservative newsman. To present another point of view, he brought back the "Report" character to bid farewell to his icon.
"Shame on you. You failed Bill O'Reilly," he said to America. "You didn't deserve this great man. All he ever did was have your back — and if you're a woman, you know, have a go at the front, too."
Coming out of the taped sketch, Colbert offered O'Reilly devotees some consolation.
"In case you're a fan of sexual harassers who are on TV all the time, we still have Donald Trump," he said.