'O'Reilly Factor' Loses Advertisers Amid Sexual Harassment Allegations
Over two dozen companies, so far, have pulled ads in wake of claims against host Bill O'Reilly.
Carmakers Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai, Lexus, Mitsubishi and BMW are pulling their advertisements from Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor after a slew of sexual harassment claims against host Bill O'Reilly were made public Saturday, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
Mercedes, calling the accusations "disturbing," confirmed Monday that its ads have been "reassigned" in a statement.
"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," a Mercedes-Benz spokesperson told The Hollywood Reporter. "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."
Hyundai also released a statement late Monday announcing it was pulling its ads from The O'Reilly Factor. The Korean carmaker said that it was "reallocating" upcoming ads "due to recent and disturbing allegations." The company added that it sought to partner with companies that shared its "values of inclusion and diversity."
On Tuesday, a rep for BMW of North America told THR: "In light of the recent New York Times investigation, BMW of North America has suspended its advertising with The O’Reilly Factor."
And Mitsubishi Motors said it, too, was pulling its ads for the moment and will "continue to monitor this situation as we assess our long-term strategy," said public relations manager Alex Fedorak.
In addition to the five major auto makers, finance site Credit Karma, marketing firm Constant Contact, financial firm T. Rowe Price, car dealer rating website TrueCar, men's apparel retailers Untuckit, home decor company Wayfair, family history and genealogy site Ancestry, and drug companies Sanofi, Bayer and GlaxoSmithKline all yanked their ads on Tuesday. Ainsworth Pet Nutrition removed the ads "because of these recent disturbing allegations," said a rep for the parent company to Rachael Ray's dog food brand Nutrish. Pest control company Orkin also pulled ads from O'Reilly's program.
“Based on the recent allegations and our strong commitment to inclusion, respect and tolerance in the workplace, we have decided to pull Constant Contacts ads from The O’Reilly Factor,” Lark-Marie Anton, the CCO of the digital marketing company, confirmed to THR, adding that the cancelation will go into effect after Tuesday's episode.
Brian Lewbart, head of public relations and communications, said at T. Rowe Price Group, "We regularly evaluate our media buys to ensure alignment with our corporate values, and in light of the recent allegations we have decided to pull our upcoming ads from The O’Reilly Factor.”
Insurance company Allstate, and its subsidiary Esurance, also suspended its ads, saying in a statement, "Inclusivity and support for women are important Allstate values. We are concerned about the issues surrounding the program and we have suspended our advertising."
Also joining those companies that chose to pull their advertising were Invisalign, The Wonderful Company, Coldwell Banker, H&R Block, Consumer Cellular, Angie's List, Southern New Hampshire University, Reddi-Wip and Legal Zoom.
LegalZoom has pulled all advertising from The O'Reilly Factor.— LegalZoom (@LegalZoom) April 5, 2017
@nowmill5 Thank you for your feedback. We can confirm that Consumer Cellular has removed our advertising from “The O’Reilly Factor” show.— Consumer Cellular (@Consumer_Cell) April 5, 2017
Weight loss company Jenny Craig also announced they would be pulling ads from the show, stating the company "condemns any and all forms of sexual harassment."
Life insurance quote company, SelectQuote, released a statement saying, "We were disappointed that our ad ran on O'Reilly as it wasn't part of our intentional media programming. We have taken steps to insure that SelectQuote ads will not support any Bill O'Reilly programs."
Fox News responded to the growing exodus of advertisers late Tuesday afternoon.
“We value our partners and are working with them to address their current concerns about The O’Reilly Factor," Paul Rittenberg, evp of advertising sales, said in a statement. "At this time, the ad buys of those clients have been re-expressed into other FNC programs.”
In a New York Times exposé published over the weekend, it was revealed that five women claiming to have been sexual harassed or verbally abused by the host received over $13 million in payouts from Fox News and O'Reilly to agree to keep quiet about the accusations.
O'Reilly has since denied all claims and issued the following statement Saturday: "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."
The statement continued, "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 host was silent about the controversy on Monday night's show and did not address the issue on Tuesday, either.
CNNMoney first reported that Mercedes-Benz has dropped its advertising on the Fox show.
Note: This story is being updated as more advertisers come forward.