Women’s groups embrace O’Reilly boycott as more and more advertisers bail

·Senior Writer
Bill O'Reilly in April 2016
Bill O’Reilly (Photo: Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images)

The National Organization for Women and organizers of the Women’s March have joined in the boycott against Bill O’Reilly as at least 18 companies have pulled their advertising from “The O’Reilly Factor” following a report the Fox News host and his network reached settlements with five women who had accused him of harassment.

“Attn advertisers: do the right thing,” the Women’s March group tweeted to its more than 473,000 followers on Monday night, linking to a CNN/Money report that Mercedes-Benz and BMW of North America were among the first companies that withdrew advertising spots from O’Reilly’s top-rated primetime show.

“Who’s next?” the Women’s March tweeted Tuesday in response to the news that Hyundai had joined them. “#DropOReilly.”

“This man has got to go,” Paola Mendoza, artistic director of the Women’s March, wrote on Twitter. “Corporations should have a zero tolerance policy for sexual harassment. Women unite to force Fox to #DropOReilly!”

“Mr. O’Reilly’s case is part of a larger culture that condones the harassment and objectification of women at Fox News,” NOW president Terry O’Neill said in a statement Tuesday. “Men like Mr. O’Reilly and Mr. Ailes will never be stopped as long as their behavior is allowed to continue, even supported, by their employer.”

“We value our partners and are working with them to address their current concerns about ‘The O’Reilly Factor,'” Paul Rittenberg, Fox News’ executive vice president of advertising, said in a statement to Yahoo News. “At this time, the ad buys of those clients have been re-expressed into our FNC programs.”

The New York Times reported over the weekend that Fox News and O’Reilly have paid about $13 million in settlements to five women who had accused him of sexual harassment and verbal abuse.

According to the Times, two of the settlements came after Fox News former chairman Roger Ailes resigned in the wake of a sexual harassment scandal.

In a statement to the paper, Fox News’ parent company, 21st Century Fox, said it “takes matters of workplace behavior very seriously.”

“We have looked into these matters over the last few months and discussed them with Mr. O’Reilly,” the statement said. “While he denies the merits of these claims, Mr. O’Reilly has resolved those he regarded as his personal responsibility. Mr. O’Reilly is fully committed to supporting our efforts to improve the environment for all our employees at Fox News.”

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In a statement posted to his website over the weekend, O’Reilly said he is “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,” O’Reilly said. “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.”

At a press conference on Monday, Lisa Bloom, an attorney who is representing one of the accusers featured in the Times report, scoffed at O’Reilly’s claim that he is a “target.”

“Bill O’Reilly, you call out whiners as delicate snowflakes,” Bloom said in a statement. “But you’re the one whining now.”

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