Wednesday afternoon officially marked the end of an era for 21st Century Fox, as longtime political commentator Bill O'Reilly has parted ways with Fox News.
O'Reilly's forced exit comes amid a series of sexual assault allegations, where it was revealed that the host of “The O'Reilly Factor” paid $13 million in settlements to try to cover up allegations from five women.
The New York Times relayed a statement from 21st Century Fox, which read:
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 founder Rupert Murdoch and his two sons, James and Lachlan, sent this letter around to the Fox News staff in the wake of the news:
O'Reilly's final episode was April 11.
As fate would have it, during the same time the allegations about O'Reilly's sexual assault allegations broke, the Fox host had plans to vacation in Italy with his family.
It was during this vacation that O'Reilly received word that he would be forced out of his primetime position.
According to reports from the New York Times, during the morning of his firing, O'Reilly spent his time in the VIP fast-track line to meet with Pope Francis in St. Peter's Square:
O'Reilly's visit to Vatican City comes just a few months after the former Fox anchor attempted to lecture the Pope about immigration, among other matters.
Pope Francis made a statement in regard to President Donald Trump's border wall:
“A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian.”
On an episode of the “The O'Reilly Factor,” the host said:
“The pope. I would very much like to speak with him. And if I can arrange that, I would like to bring the family of Kate Steinle with me.”
“Finally, I would suggest to Pope Francis that millions of Americans have been harmed economically by our immigration system, which desperately needs reform. I think I could persuade the pope that providing protection and enforcing settled law is certainly not un-Christian.”
In the wake of Fox's decision, O'Reilly released this statement, according to the Daily Caller:
"Over the past 20 years at Fox News. I have 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.
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. 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. I wish only the best for Fox News Channel."
O'Reilly flew back from Italy on Wednesday night after the news broke.