Mike Huckabee says 'you can't kiss a woman leaning away from you' on Bill O'Reilly's old Fox News show

Rachel Roberts

Hours after Fox news anchor Bill O’Reilly was fired amid a gathering storm of sexual harassment allegations, Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee appeared on his old show and raised eyebrows with a remark about how you “can’t kiss a woman leaning away from you”.

The Republican and ardent Donald Trump supporter was complaining to host Dana Perino about supposed media bias against the President.

“Journalism has died in this country, there isn’t any,” the politician said before he complained Mr Trump had received 99.5 per cent negative coverage after he made his unsubstantiated claim that Barack Obama had wire-tapped his office during the election campaign.

“You know there's three things you can't do,” Mr Huckabee claimed. “You can't spit into the wind, you can't climb a ladder leaning toward you or kiss a woman leaning away from you. Add one more to the list if you're Donald Trump: You can't get a fair shake from the media.”

The “kissing” comment was ignored by Ms Perino, who was standing in for Mr O’Reilly on The Factor following his sudden departure.

Mr Huckabee is an ordained Southern Baptist minister with evangelical views and hosted his own Fox news show Huckabee until January 2015, when he called time to pursue a bid for the White House.

In February 2016, he suspended his Republican candidacy and threw his weight behind the Trump campaign.

Ms Perino closed the show with a tribute to Mr O’Reily, who worked at Fox for 21 years as a popular voice of right-wing America.

“It is the end of an era here at Fox News Channel,“ she said. ”Bill has been the undisputed king of cable news, and for good reason…He has also held his staff to exacting standards in his quest to put the best possible programme on the air, and they are great.“

Mr O’Reilly denies all allegations of impropriety against him, but the swirl of complaints and bad publicity was enough to persuade Fox News Chief Rupert Murdoch to finally dispense with his services.

Mr Murdoch said in a statement: ”After a thorough and careful review of allegations against him, the company and Bill O'Reilly have agreed that Mr O'Reilly will not return to the Fox News Channel.“

His sudden departure comes just nine months after that of his old boss, Roger Ailes, who has also been accused of multiple cases of sexual harassment by women co-workers.

Mr O’Reilly and Fox came under intense scrutiny following revelations that Fox News and its parent company, 21st Century Fox, repeatedly stood by him as the company reached five settlements with five women who had complained about sexual harassment or other inappropriate behaviour by him.

Other allegations about his conduct towards colleagues and his ex-wife also emerged in the media. The settlements totalled around £13 million.

More than 50 advertisers boycotted his shows and several women’s groups called for him to be fired.

It was reported in US media that Mr Murdoch made his decision after he and his sons reviewed the internal procedures at Fox and found multiple women had allegedly made similar complaints about Mr O’Reilly.

As an antagonist of the left, Mr O’Reilly won legions of fans on Fox for his forthright broadcasting style, infused with unabashed patriotism and a scorn for all things “politically correct” – including the feminist movement.

Mr O’Reilly has yet to comment on his sacking and is currently on holiday in Italy where he met Pope Francis in the Vatican.

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