“The list of legendary Americans whom Roger helped is long and impressive,” O’Reilly wrote in a USA Today op-ed. “From Ronald Reagan to George Bush, the elder, to Rush Limbaugh, Ailes gave them all blunt advice that led them to success. And it was that bluntness that made his life difficult, as enemies accumulated — some armed with a brutal hatred.”
After detailing his working relationship with Ailes over the years (“When stuff hit the fan… Roger had my back.”), O’Reilly bemoaned society’s technological advances that have caused hatred to be “almost celebrated in some quarters.”
“Roger Ailes experienced that hatred and it killed him,” he continued. “That is the truth. But he would not want to be remembered that way. He did both good and bad in his life and in that, he has something in common with every human being.”
Of course, Ailes and O’Reilly have both been the subject of controversy in recent months. Ailes — who died from complications from a blood clot — resigned from Fox News last July after former network anchor Gretchen Carlson filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against her ex-boss, which resulted in a settlement of $20 million. It was later reported that Megyn Kelly, who has also since left Fox News, told independent investigators at 21st Century Fox that Ailes had made unwanted sexual advances toward her during her early years as a correspondent.
O’Reilly was officially dismissed from the network on April 19, after it was reported that Fox had paid out more than $13 million to settle five separate sexual harassment lawsuits against him. The host was let go after more accusers came forward, and dozens of companies dropped their ads from The O’Reilly Factor.