Review Category : Business

Lawyer says O’Reilly’s departure is ‘a very important first step’ but cautions that more needs ‘to be done’

ABC News(NEW YORK) — Celebrity attorney Lisa Bloom said Bill O’Reilly’s ouster from Fox News on Wednesday “is a very important first step,” but added “there’s a lot more to be done” at the cable network.

Bloom, who represented some of O’Reilly’s accusers, told ABC News’ Good Morning America on Thursday that the network needed “to clean house and show us that they really do respect women.”

The attorney said that her phone “has been ringing off the hook” since yesterday and she expected more allegations to come out against O’Reilly and the network.

On Wednesday, 21st Century Fox announced that O’Reilly – who was vacationing in Italy – would not be returning to his anchor chair on Monday.

The announcement marked a remarkable downfall for cable news’ biggest star, who had been dogged by harassment and sexual misconduct allegations since an April 1 investigation in The New York Times.

ABC News has not been able to independently verify these claims.

An internal 21st Century Fox memo obtained by ABC News on Wednesday said that the “decision follows an extensive review done in collaboration with outside counsel.” The memo was signed by Rupert, Lachlan and James Murdoch, the company’s top executives.

The Murdochs did praise O’Reilly, saying, “By ratings standards, Bill O’Reilly is one of the most accomplished TV personalities in the history of cable news. In fact, his success by any measure is indisputable.”

“We want to underscore our consistent commitment to fostering a work environment built on the values of trust and respect,” the memo concluded.

Earlier in April, 21st Century Fox enlisted the prominent law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison to probe at least one complaint against O’Reilly.

“21st Century Fox investigates all complaints, and we have asked the law firm Paul, Weiss to continue assisting the company in these serious matters,” a 21st Century Fox spokesman said at the time.

O’Reilly issued a statement on Wednesday after the news broke, saying, “It is tremendously disheartening that we part ways due to completely unfounded claims. But that is the unfortunate reality many of us in the public eye must live with today.”

Unfounded or not, the appearance of impropriety created a public relations nightmare and dozens of advertisers pulled spots from his show.

The nightmare subsided for a few days after O’Reilly disappeared from the air after his April 11 broadcast, vowing to return on April 24 after what he called a long-planned vacation. That broadcast would prove to be his last.

Hours after his ouster, his program was on air under the same name, but with the conspicuous absence of O’Reilly’s name: The Factor.

At the top of the program, guest host Dana Perino addressed O’Reilly’s departure, saying, “Before we get to the other big stories of the day, we want to address the situation many of you may already be aware of. Bill O’Reilly, who hosted this program for 20 years is leaving the Fox News Channel. We know that you, his very loyal viewers, will have a lot of feelings about this.”

She added: “It is the end of an era here at the Fox News Channel … Bill has been the undisputed king of cable news, and for good reason. He is an incredibly talented broadcaster who raise the bar for interviewers everywhere. He has also held the staff to exacting standards in his quest to put the best possible program on the air and they are great. And you, his audience, responded in record numbers making The Factor the number one cable news show for more than 16 years. You have also been loyal and we can’t tell you how much that means to everyone on The Factor.”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

FTC warns Instagram ‘influencers’ about not disclosing brand relationships

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The Federal Trade Commission is warning social media influencers — celebrities, athletes and other brand marketers with large online followings — to properly disclose relationships with brands when endorsing or promoting products on Instagram.

In a Wednesday press release, the regulatory body announced that it had sent over 90 letters “reminding influencers and marketers” about the FTC’s guidelines on “influencer advertising” in response to petitions launched by consumer rights advocacy groups like Public Citizen.

“Our goal is to influence influencers to comply with those established principles in their Instagram posts,” the FTC wrote in an accompanying blog post.

In the FTC guide for commercial practices concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials, it states that the material connection between an endorser and the seller of the advertised product must be fully disclosed.

“A material connection could be a business or family relationship, monetary payment, or the gift of a free product,” the FTC press release said.

But the FTC said that a number of influencer Instagram posts it reviewed left that connection ambiguous, and the disclosures were sometimes insufficient. It noted that hashtags used in some posts to denote that relationship — including “Thanks [Brand],” or “#partner” — were not always obvious.

While not an official warning, the FTC’s letters are meant to act as a reminder to influencers to stick within the proper standards for endorsing or promoting products.

Legally, it is up to both the brand and influencer to clearly disclose their marketing relationship, but the FTC said celebrities and influencers should directly make people aware of their connection and marketers should educate clients about their posts and monitor their adherence to FTC guidelines.

In its blog post, the FTC recommended three steps that influencers should take to ensure the effectiveness of disclosures on Instagram:

Keep your disclosures unambiguous.

Make your disclosures hard to miss.

Avoid #HardtoRead #BuriedDisclosures #inStringofHashtags #SkippedByReaders.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Last killer whale born at SeaWorld

SeaWorld(NEW YORK) — SeaWorld on Wednesday announced the birth of the last killer whale that will ever be born at the theme park, just a little over a year after it announced plans to stop breeding orcas there amid falling ticket sales and a wave of animal rights protests.

SeaWorld Entertainment, which operates 12 parks including its flagship location in Orlando, Florida, said the calf was born Wednesday afternoon to Takara, the 25-year-old matriarch of its orca pod who was already pregnant when the marine theme park company said it would stop breeding killer whales in March of last year.

“Although this is the last killer whale birth at a SeaWorld park, our work to understand and protect this species will continue for decades to come,” said Hendrik Nollens, vice president of veterinary services for SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment.

The company called the calf’s birth “historic” and said the event would mark “a new era” for SeaWorld Parks.

“This is an exciting and emotional day for us at SeaWorld and we are all so proud to share this new killer whale calf with the world, after a year and a half of planning, and observing and providing all the special care,” said Chris Bellows, vice president of zoological operations at the company’s park in San Antonio, Texas, where the calf was born.

Last year, SeaWorld said “society is changing” and the company is “changing with it” as it announced plans to stop breeding orcas.

The Orlando, Florida-based company reported total revenue of $1.34 billion for 2016, down 2.2 percent from the previous full year.

Total park attendance for 2016 fell by about 2.1 percent for the year as the company’s Florida and northeast park locations hit a major slump, according to the company’s own accounting.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Bill O’Reilly ‘disheartened’ over departure from Fox News ‘due to completely unfounded claims’

ABC News(NEW YORK) — Bill O’Reilly has responded to news that he will not be returning to his top-rated Fox News Channel show The O’Reilly Factor, saying “it is tremendously disheartening that we part ways due to completely unfounded claims.”

“That is the unfortunate reality many of us in the public eye must live with today,” he said in a statement released late Wednesday afternoon.

Earlier on Wednesday, Fox News’ parent company, 21st Century Fox, announced that “after a thorough and careful review of the allegations, the company and Bill O’Reilly have agreed that Bill O’Reilly will not be returning to the Fox News Channel.”

O’Reilly said that over his 20-year career he has “been extremely proud to launch and lead one of the most successful news programs in history, which has consistently informed and entertained millions of Americans and significantly contributed to building Fox into the dominant news network in television.”

“I will always look back on my time at Fox with great pride in the unprecedented success we achieved and with my deepest gratitude to all my dedicated viewers,” O’Reilly said. “I wish only the best for Fox News Channel.”

The host has been dogged by misconduct claims — some sexual in nature — since an April 1 story in The New York Times detailed alleged settlements made between the host and five women who accused him of harassment and sexual misconduct.

ABC News has not been able to independently verify the claims made in the Times story.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Stocks close lower despite Fed report showing economic growth

JaysonPhotography/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A bad day for the Dow pushed the stock markets lower on Wednesday for the second consecutive day.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 118.79 to a close of 20,404.49.

The Nasdaq gained 13.56, closing at 5,863.03, while the S&P 500 ended the session at 2,338.17, 4.02 lower than it opened.

The latest report from the Federal Reserve showed the economy growing in all 12 districts. The latest Beige Book also laid out figures that represent expanding employment nationwide.

This year’s college graduates will likely take on a lot of student loan debt. The Census Bureau says starting salaries are the same as they were in 2008, and in some cases are even lower.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Bill O’Reilly out at Fox News amid sexual misconduct allegations

Photo by Desiree Navarro/WireImage(NEW YORK ) — Bill O’Reilly is leaving Fox News Channel, the network’s parent company has said.

The star host has been dogged by misconduct claims — some sexual in nature — since an April 1 story in The New York Times detailed alleged settlements made between the host and five women who accused him of harassment and sexual misconduct.

“After a thorough and careful review of the allegations, the Company and Bill O’Reilly have agreed that Bill O’Reilly will not be returning to the Fox News Channel,” 21st Century Fox said in a statement on Wednesday.

Scores of advertisers pulled their spots from his show in the days following the Times‘ story.

ABC News has not been able to independently verify claims made in the Times story.

After the Times investigation, O’Reilly wrote on his website that “like other prominent and controversial people,” he is “vulnerable to lawsuits from individuals who want me to pay them to avoid negative publicity.”

O’Reilly also wrote that the time that he was “a father who cares deeply for my children and who would do anything to avoid hurting them in any way” and therefore he had to “put to rest any controversies to spare my children.”

The host is on vacation in Italy, where Vatican spokesman Greg Burke confirmed to ABC News that he met with Pope Francis Wednesday. O’Reilly was due back on the air Monday.

Not a even a vote of confidence from the president could save O’Reilly’s job.

Sitting in the Oval Office on April 5, President Donald Trump told the New York Times that O’Reilly was “a person I know well” and “a good person,” and that he didn’t think “Bill did anything wrong.”

O’Reilly is not the first high-ranking Fox News employee to exit the network amid sexual misconduct claims.

Last summer, network chief Roger Ailes was pressured into resigning amid similar claims.

Ailes has denied wrongdoing.

This is a breaking news story. Please check back for the latest updates.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Bill O’Reilly out at Fox News

Photo by Desiree Navarro/WireImage(NEW YORK ) — Bill O’Reilly is leaving Fox News Channel, the network’s parent company has said.

The star host has been dogged by misconduct claims — some sexual in nature — since an April 1 story in The New York Times detailed alleged settlements made between the host and five women who accused him of harassment and sexual misconduct.

“After a thorough and careful review of the allegations, the Company and Bill O’Reilly have agreed that Bill O’Reilly will not be returning to the Fox News Channel,” 21st Century Fox said in a statement on Wednesday.

Scores of advertisers pulled their spots from his show in the days following the Times‘ story.

ABC News has not been able to independently verify claims made in the Times story.

After the Times investigation, O’Reilly wrote on his website that “like other prominent and controversial people,” he is “vulnerable to lawsuits from individuals who want me to pay them to avoid negative publicity.”

O’Reilly also wrote that the time that he was “a father who cares deeply for my children and who would do anything to avoid hurting them in any way” and therefore he had to “put to rest any controversies to spare my children.”

This is a breaking news story. Please check back for the latest updates.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Emirates Airlines to reduce US service due to decreased demand following travel regulations

Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Emirates Airlines will reduce service to the United States after recent travel regulations instituted by the Trump administration.

According to a statement put out on Wednesday, the airline has seen “a significant deterioration in the booking profiles on all our U.S. routes” since the implementation of a ban on laptops and tablets on certain flights. The statement also alludes to President Trump’s travel bans that would have barred citizens of a number of majority-Muslim countries.

“This is a commercial decision in response to weakened travel demand to [the] U.S.,” the statement said. “The recent actions taken by the U.S. government relating to the issuance of entry visas, heightened security vetting, and restrictions of electonic devices in aircraft cabins, have had a direct impact on consumer interest and demand for air travel into the U.S.”

Emirates says that the airline had seen “healthy growth and performance” in their operations in the U.S. until the start of the calendar year.

The company adds, “we will closely monitor the situation with the view to reinstate and grow our U.S. flight operations as soon as viable.”

Emirates serves 12 American gateways — New York; Newark; Boston; Washington, D.C.; Chicago, Seattle, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, Dallas, Fort Lauderdale and Orlando.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Bill O’Reilly accusers ‘not going to stop until’ he’s fired, lawyer says

ABC News(NEW YORK) — Fox News host Bill O’Reilly is facing a new accusation of misconduct, with lawyer Lisa Bloom saying this morning that she and her clients are “not going to stop until Bill O’Reilly is fired.”

“This is about equality for women in the workplace,” Bloom said today on ABC News’ Good Morning America.

O’Reilly is on vacation – a trip he said was long-planned when he left the air April 11 – as he continues to be dogged by accusations of misconduct that were given new life by an April 1 story in The New York Times that detailed alleged settlements made between the host and five women who accused him of harassment and sexual misconduct.

Out of the spotlight, the negative publicity died down for a bit, but surged back with a report in New York Magazine on Tuesday that said — citing three unnamed sources — that Fox News owners, the Murdoch family, were “leaning toward announcing that O’Reilly will not return to the air.”

On the same day, The Hollywood Reporter (THR) published a story saying that another woman had come forward to make misconduct allegations against O’Reilly.

Bloom, who is representing the woman in the THR story, appeared today on GMA without the new accuser and without identifying her, but reiterated the African-American woman’s allegation that O’Reilly called her client “hot chocolate.”

Meanwhile, the host is due back on the air Monday.

Late Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal – which shares the same ownership as Fox News’ parent company – reported that “A final resolution on the fate of Mr. O’Reilly … could come as early as the next several days,” citing “people close to the situation.”

“21st Century Fox, which will hold a board meeting Thursday, hasn’t finalized an exit agreement with Mr. O’Reilly,” The Journal reported.

Attorneys for O’Reilly told ABC News this morning that they “categorically deny” being involved in discussions about his possible departure from the network, but noted that they can’t speak to what’s being discussed internally at Fox News.

ABC News has not been able to independently verify reporting in the Times, New York Magazine, Hollywood Reporter or Wall Street Journal stories.

Fox News did not respond to a request for comment and 21st Century Fox declined to comment Tuesday afternoon.

O’Reilly’s lawyer Marc Kasowitz said that his client “has been subjected to a brutal campaign of character assassination that is unprecedented in post-McCarthyist America.”

He said in a statement Tuesday that his firm, “has uncovered evidence that the smear campaign is being orchestrated by far-left organizations bent on destroying O’Reilly and Fox News for political and financial reasons,” and that the “evidence will be put forth shortly and it is irrefutable.”

Regarding the allegation in the THR report, Kasowitz said: “It is outrageous that an allegation from an anonymous person about something that purportedly happened almost a decade ago is being treated as fact, especially where there is obviously an orchestrated campaign by activists and lawyers to destroy Mr. O’Reilly and enrich themselves through publicity driven donations.”

Bloom told GMA this morning that her client had a right to anonymity, saying “imagine if you’re a low level clerical worker and you’re going up against Bill O’Reilly.”

After the Times’ investigation, O’Reilly wrote on his website that he, “like other prominent and controversial people,” is “vulnerable to lawsuits from individuals who want me to pay them to avoid negative publicity.” And said that he was “a father who cares deeply for my children and who would do anything to avoid hurting them in any way” and therefore he had “put to rest any controversies to spare my children.”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Tax refund vacations: 7 exotic trips

Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Are you getting a tax refund this year and are eager to spend that newfound cash? According to the IRS, the average individual income tax refund for 2016 was $3,050.

Depending on where you start, that money can take you far, far away … on a vacation. Here are seven destinations where airfare and a hotel stay will cost less than the average refund.

Island-hopping in the Aegean Sea

Spend nearly two weeks soaking up the sun on some of Greece’s most beautiful islands for just $1,499. This trip from Go-Today begins with two nights in Athens, where travelers can visit the Parthenon and the Temple of Poseidon. The next nine nights are spread across the relaxing islands of Mykonos, Crete and Santorini. The cost includes airfare, hotel accommodations and daily breakfast.

A taste of Ireland

Get the full Irish experience with this two-week trip from Friendly Planet, starting at $2,699, which features visits to classic Ireland destinations like Dublin, Killarney, Galway and Belfast. The cost includes round-trip flights, all ground transportation and transfers, hotel and meal accommodations, and a guide to help get the the most out of the charming country.

Experience Ecuador

This eight-day trip from LivingSocial takes travelers to exotic Ecuador and Galapagos Islands for just $1,399. The fee includes round-trip international and local flights, six breakfasts, and hotel accommodations. For even more adventure, activities like snorkling with sea lions and observing giant sea turtles are available for a small extra fee.

Mamma mia!

Also from Go-Today is the so-called “Italian Adventure” package, priced from $1,099. The cheapest prices are found in October; plan to pay between $100 — $1,000 more for high season departures in July. The trip includes round-trip airfare from New York (other gateways available), accommodations in Rome, Florence and Venice with rail transfers in between. The 10-day trip is a good option for someone who wants the ease of a fully-booked tour but wants to primarily explore on their own. Breakfast, as well as hotel taxes and surcharges, are also included in the price.

Get there before the crowds

Yes, we’re talking about Cuba. The hottest hotspot is tops on every travelers’ radar, so do yourself a favor and get there before everyone else does. Included in the price of $2,818 from Apple Vacations is a four-night Havana Tour with multiple summer departure dates. Round-trip airfare from Miami, hotel accommodations, tours, private workshops, a salsa lesson, antique car rides and more are included in the price.

Get away from it all

Dreaming of white-sand beaches, a tropical drink and nothing on the agenda but rest and relaxation? Consider the Cook Islands, an island nation in the South Pacific roughly halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand. A trip from Pleasant Holidays will cost $1,165 for a five-night vacation depending on hotel class and departure city. Round-trip airfare on Air New Zealand is included, as are hotel accommodations and taxes.

Asia “taxperience”

STA Travel, famous for catering to student travelers, has created two “taxperience” vacations for those interested in Asia. An 8-day trip to northern Thailand is priced from $1,296 per person with New York and Los Angeles departures and includes flight and hotel with travel from Bangkok to Chang Mei. There’s also a Vietnam and Cambodia trip priced from $1,653 from New York (slightly less from Los Angeles) and takes in Angor Wat and Ho Chi Min City. The 9-day trip touches down in Bangkok, so you’ll get three countries for one price.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →