Over the weekend, the New York Times published a story saying Fox News and Bill O’Reilly paid out a combined $13 million to five women alleging O’Reilly sexually harassed and verbally abused them. And although 21st Century Fox released a statement in support of O’Reilly, a handful of advertisers have now pulled their ads from O’Reilly’s show, The O’Reilly Factor, due to the allegations against him.
Mercedes-Benz and Hyundai were the first two companies to yank their ads; both said their decisions were directly connected to O’Reilly’s alleged treatment of women. “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,” a corporate communications manager at Mercedes-Benz said in the statement. She added the ads that would normally appear during O’Reilly’s show have been “reassigned in the midst of controversy.”
Meanwhile, Hyundai said it was “reallocating” advertising spots “due to the recent and disturbing allegations” against O’Reilly. “As a company, we seek to partner with companies and programming that share our values of inclusion and diversity,” the company added.
Then, following Hyundai’s and Mercedes-Benz’s decisions, ten more companies followed suit: BMW; Mitsubishi; pharmaceutical maker GlaxoSmithKline; Sanofi Consumer Care; Allstate; asset-management firm T. Rowe Price; men’s clothing line Untuckit; email marketer Constant Contact; and Ainsworth Pet Nutrition. That brings the total number of companies to 12, NBC reports.
Despite the settlements it has made on O’Reilly’s behalf, Fox News recently extended his $18 million contract, which was set to expire this year, the Times reports. What’s more, The O’Reilly Factor continues to buoy Fox’s ratings; over the past few months, “the anchor’s prime-time show scored the highest-rated cable-news quarter ever, with 4 million viewers,” contributing to Fox’s “best quarter in cable-news history,” according to Axios. Research firm Kantar Media found that The O’Reilly Factor generated more than $446 million in advertising from 2014 through 2016. But if advertisers continue to flee at this rate, it could put a serious dent in the revenue O’Reilly generates for Fox.
This post has been updated throughout.
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