After a New York Times report on Saturday alleged that Bill O’Reilly and Fox News paid at least five women, an amount totaling $13 million, in exchange for their silence over sexual harassment, top advertisers started removing spots from O’Reilly’s show, ‘The O’Reilly Factor” on Fox News.
Mercedes-Benz, one of O’Reilly’s top advertisers, announced on Monday that it will not run any more commercials during the show and instead “reassigned” its advertisements to other Fox News spots.
“Yes, we had advertising running on ‘The O’Reilly Factor’ (we run on most major cable news shows) and it has been reassigned in the midst of this controversy,” Donna Boland, Mercedes-Benz corporate communications manager, said in a statement. “The allegations are disturbing and, given the importance of women in every aspect of our business, we don’t feel this is a good environment in which to advertise our products right now.”
Following Mercedes-Benz’s decision to pull off advertisements, 10 more advertisers have refused to be associated with Bill O’Reilly’s show. Advertisers including BMW, Hyundai, Mitsubishi, GSK, Sanofi, Constant Contact, Untuckit, Ainsworth Pet Nutrition, Allstate insurance agency, and T. Rowe Price, an asset management firm, confirmed that they will not be placing any ads during O’Reilly’s show.
A spokesperson for Hyundai told CNN that while it does not currently have any spots on O’Reilly’s show, following the “recent and disturbing allegations,” it has reversed its decision to run any commercials in the near future.
None of the 11 companies have withdrawn their money from Fox News. They have only decided to not run their ads during the 8-9 PM EST time slot, when O’Reilly’s show airs.
“We value our partners and are working with them to address their current concerns about the O’Reilly Factor. At this time, the ad buys of those clients have been re-expressed into other FNC programs,” said Paul Rittenberg, an executive vice president at Fox News.
O’Reilly has defended himself in a statement, but seemed to admit to paying at least some of the claims.
“Just like other prominent and controversial people, I’m vulnerable to lawsuits from individuals who want me to pay them to avoid negative publicity. In my more than 20 years at Fox News Channel, no one has ever filed a complaint about me with the Human Resources Department, even on the anonymous hotline.
But most importantly, I’m a father who cares deeply for my children and who would do anything to avoid hurting them in any way. And so I have put to rest any controversies to spare my children.
The worst part of my job is being a target for those who would harm me and my employer, the Fox News Channel. Those of us in the arena are constantly at risk, as are our families and children. My primary efforts will continue to be to put forth an honest TV program and to protect those close to me.”
For over a decade, “The O’Reilly Factor” has been the most-watched news show. Recent data published by TVNewser shows that O’Reilly’s 8 PM show on last Thursday garnered about 3.27 million views, beating CNN’s “AC360” which attracted around 2 million views.