New York – Fox News on Wednesday severed its ties with Bill O’Reilly, sacking its biggest star and America’s most-watched cable news anchor over a flood of sexual harassment allegations and crashing advertising sales.

It was a humiliating blow to one of the biggest US media names, a veteran broadcaster at Fox News for two decades who counted President Donald Trump among his personal supporters and whose ratings soared in defiance of his alleged abusive behavior towards women.

But the departure of advertisers, wary of being associated with “The O’Reilly Factor,” sealed his fate as the Murdoch family, who owns parent company 21st Century Fox, battles to keep a lid on reports of harassment at the channel and eyes up a powerful merger in Britain.

“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 one-sentence statement.

Women rights activists declared his dismissal a victory and said they hoped it would encourage victims of sexual harassment to speak out.

© GETTY Ilya S. Savenok Bill O'Reilly, shown in this 2016 photo, had originally planned to return to his nightly show on April 24 after taking a "long- planned break"

© GETTY Ilya S. Savenok – Bill O’Reilly, shown in this 2016 photo, had originally planned to return to his nightly show on April 24 after taking a “long- planned break”