NEW YORK (AP) — The Latest on Fox News Channel host Bill O'Reilly (all times local):
Bill O'Reilly has lost his job at Fox News Channel following reports that five women had been paid millions of dollars to keep quiet about harassment allegations.
21st Century Fox issued a statement Wednesday 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.
He had been scheduled to return from a vacation next Monday. O'Reilly was photographed in Rome shaking Pope Francis' hand on Wednesday.
It marks a stunning end to a near perfect marriage between a pugnacious personality and network. For two decades O'Reilly has ruled the "no spin zone" with cable news' most popular show, and his ratings had never been higher.
Embattled Fox News host Bill O'Reilly had a brief handshake with Pope Francis on Wednesday as sexual harassment allegations dog him at home.
O'Reilly is on a vacation that on Wednesday took him to Francis' general audience in St. Peter's Square. His trip came as Fox News Channel's parent company 21st Century Fox is investigating sexual harassment allegations against him. Dozens of his show's advertisers have fled following a report that five women were paid $13 million in settlements after they alleged harassment or mistreatment. O'Reilly has denied wrongdoing.
On Wednesday, he was seated in the VIP section, where a photographer from the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano snapped a photo of Francis reaching out to shake his hand.
Francis always swings by the VIP seats at the end of his audience for a quick round of handshakes.
There was no immediate response from Bill O'Reilly's bosses Wednesday to escalating reports that the Fox News Channel personality will lose his job following accusations he had harassed women.
New York magazine reported Wednesday, based on unnamed sources, that Rupert Murdoch and sons James and Lachlan, who run Fox parent 21st Century Fox, had decided that O'Reilly was out and executives were planning the exit. On Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal, a newspaper owned by the Murdochs, wrote that the company was preparing to cut ties with O'Reilly.
The New York Times reported April 2 that five women had been paid a total of $13 million to keep quiet about unpleasant encounters with O'Reilly, who has denied any wrongdoing.
Meanwhile, on vacation in Rome Wednesday, O'Reilly shook Pope Francis' hand.