Business Stories of the Week: April 21

by April 21, 2017
Longtime Fox News primetime host Bill O'Reilly was ousted this week amid sexual harassment claims, and he's departing with a $25 million-payout, the New York Times reports. (Image "News Corp Fox News" by Edgar Zuniga Jr. via Flickr, CC license by 2.0.)

Longtime Fox News primetime host Bill O’Reilly was ousted this week amid sexual harassment claims, and he’s departing with a $25 million-payout, the New York Times reports. (Image “News Corp Fox News” by Edgar Zuniga Jr. via Flickr, CC license by 2.0.)

O’Reilly leaves Fox with $25 million payout

Bill O’Reilly’s 20-year run as one of Fox News’ most popular prime-time TV hosts has officially been cut short. He will receive a final payout that could  reach $25 million—an amount equal to one year’s salary. O’Reilly made national headlines recently after a New York Times investigation discovered he and Fox News doled out $13 million to settle sexual harassment and other misconduct claims by five women. O’Reilly was ousted on Wednesday following an internal Fox investigation that unearthed similar allegations by more women. News of the possible $25 million departing paycheck put the scandal back in the spotlight on Thursday. The Times reports that similar harassment scandals at Fox, such as last summer’s resignation of then-Chairman Roger Ailes, has brought the tally of such payouts to departing employees to more than $85 million.

GM plant in Venezuela abruptly shutters amid local upheaval

Detroit’s General Motors, the third-largest automaker in the world, was forced to abruptly layoff 2,700 Venezuelans, shut down the factory where they worked and effectively exit the country Thursday after authorities, who were reportedly unrelated to the government, seized the property and its stock of cars and other assets, according to the Wall Street Journal. Venezuela, once a flourishing market often eyed by multi-national corporations, has been in a state of political unrest and economic upheaval that’s sparked deadly anti-government protests across the South American nation, the WSJ reports. The GM factory takeover stems from a provincial court embargo in favor of a local car dealer, which sued the Detroit automaker for $370 million over contract disputes back in 2000.

Trump eyes steel imports with probe

On Wednesday night, with U.S. steel industry executives huddling around him in the Oval Office, President Donald Trump launched a federal investigation into whether imported steel from foreign countries such as China poses a threat to the nation’s economy and security by signing a memo authorizing the Commerce Department to expedite the probe, according to the Washington Post. The outcome of the investigation could ultimately result in new tariffs on steel imports, which make up more than one-quarter of the U.S. marketplace, and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Thursday morning that his agency will also be comparing the current domestic steel capacity to whatever the U.S. might need to defend itself, the Post reports.

Verizon’s reign over wireless market slips

For the first time ever, Verizon saw roughly 307,000 wireless subscribers drop their monthly-billed data plans for cellphones, tablets, smartwatches and other devices during the first three months of 2017. The drop is surprising for Verizon, which has long reigned over the U.S. wireless carrier market, but executives say it could’ve been even worse had they not reinstated unlimited data plans that many smaller rivals now offer, according to this Associated Press article published by ABC News. With most Americans now carrying cell phones, profit-making for wireless carriers means resorting to nabbing customers from their competitors with ultra-low prices and covering their costs of switching over.

Getting paid time off to protest

After the 2016 election, many Americans, especially younger generations, joined political movements and protests that spread across the country. That movement has apparently left a mark on the workplace, especially in Silicon Valley. The Washington Post reports that progressive-minded tech startups and giants like Facebook, which have been directly impacted by some of Trump’s actions thus far, are now giving employees paid time off to protest.

Dow Chemical tries to bury damaging study

A scoop by the Associated Press this week, published here in the Washington Post, revealed that lawyers for Dow Chemical—whose CEO Andrew Liveris leads a manufacturing task force under the White House—sent letters to the cabinet members of President Donald Trump asking that the results of a damaging pesticide report be “set aside.” Dow, which donated $1 million for Trump’s inauguration celebrations, submitted the letters last week following last month’s announcement by EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt that an Obama-era move to block the use of a Dow pesticide, chlorpyrifos, on food would be reversed.

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