Another sexual harassment scandal is rocking Fox News, and host Bill O’Reilly is at the center of it. The aftermath of this scandal is playing out on social media and on the bottom line of the wallets at Fox News. Earlier today, BBC News reported that three advertisers, including Mercedes-Benz, had pulled their advertising from the Fox News show The O’Reilly Factor after Bill O’Reilly allegations came to light.
As of this morning, Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai, and BMW automakers all pulled advertising from The O’Reilly Factor after the Bill O’Reilly scandal came to a peak this week. The New York Daily News reports today that three more sponsors are on the list of pulled advertisers, including Ainsworth Pet Nutrition, pharmaceutical company Glaxo Smith Kline, and an online marketing company known as Constant Contact.
That’s a total of six advertisers pulling out of the Fox News show due to the Bill O’Reilly scandal. The scandal came to a head this weekend when the New York Times published findings of their own investigation that showed Bill O’Reilly had paid out over $13 million dollars in the last several years to settle sexual harassment lawsuits.
The largest settlement was $9 million in 2004. Each of the litigants claiming sexual harassment agreed to non-disclosure of the incidents with the acceptance of the settlement. Bill O’Reilly has flatly denied the allegations.
The New York Times reported that either he or Fox News paid the litigants to settle the lawsuits.
Since then, advertisers have begun pulling their dollars from the network. The first to do so were Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai, and BMW. Mercedes-Benz has also pulled money from the website Brietbart News for controversial writing on racism, according to a group known as the Sleeping Giants.
It’s not the only trouble that the Fox network is in. This week, fresh allegations surfaced by Monica Douglas, a Fox News account manager who is accusing former executive Judy Slater of racial slurs. Monica Douglas is saying that she first reported her concerns to Fox in 2014, but “nothing was done,” reports BBC News.
Hyundai has issued a statement on Bill O’Reilly saying that ads were being pulled from The O’Reilly Factor as a result of “recent and disturbing allegations.” They also said they would monitor the situation as they plan their future advertising decisions.
Mercedes-Benz is only taking their advertising from The O’Reilly Factor and will run ads elsewhere on the Fox network. Their statement said the following.
“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.”
Bill O’Reilly has a number of accusers, one of them being psychologist Wendy Walsh, who appeared on his show regularly. She alleges that she was offered a job by Bill O’Reilly, but the offer was rescinded after she declined his invitation to go to a hotel room with him in 2013.
Wendy Walsh is represented by Lisa Bloom, a renowned attorney and feminist who has represented litigants levying similar accusations against Donald Trump.
In the midst of this scandal, fresh allegations against Fox News have come to light. Julie Roginsky alleges she was refused a job after she rebuffed advances from Roger Ailes. Julie Roginsky was a paid political commentator for Fox News, and she alleges that she was offered a job as the host of her own show, The Five, but lost the job when she rebuffed Ailes’ advances.
BBC News reports that her action states the following.
“[Mr. Ailes] had volunteered the advice that Roginsky should engage in sexual relationships with older, married, conservative men, because they may stray, but they always come back because they’re loyal.”
Roginsky’s lawsuit describes a “misogynistic culture” at Fox News that persisted even after Roger Ailes was forced to resign amidst other allegations last summer. NPR reports that after the Ailes resignation, Fox News had said they would change their work culture. Roginsky’s suit alleges this did not happen.
Former Fox News hosts Megyn Kelly and Laurie Dhue also had sexual harassment claims against Roger Ailes.
Fox News and The O’Reilly Factor do not just have the Bill O’Reilly scandal and these fresh allegations to contend with. Julia Roginsky is also accusing the Fox network’s president, Bill Shine, and Fox attorney Dianne Brandi of being complicit in the Roger Ailes harassment claims. She also alleges that she was “punished for raising the issue.”
But a recent memo to Fox employees has Dianne Brandi listed as one of the go-to employees at Fox News if any employee has sexual harassment concerns or any concerns about behavior in the work place. Attorney Lisa Bloom and litigant Wendy Walsh spoke about the allegations on CNN last night.
CNN reports that a statement has also been issued by Constant Contact on their decision to leave Fox News and The O’Reilly Factor as a result of Bill O’Reilly.
“Based on the recent allegations and our strong commitment to inclusion, respect and tolerance in the workplace, we have decided to pull Constant Contact ads from ‘The O’Reilly Factor.'”
Whether or not more advertisers will follow suit remains to be seen. Fox News host Bill O’Reilly has not issued a statement publicly since the news came to light.
At the time of this initial report, six advertisers had pulled out of Fox News show the The O’Reilly Factor. Think Progress is reporting Friday, April 7, that the advertiser pull-out blitz since earlier this week has increased to 50 national advertisers leaving The O’Reilly Factor.
By the Friday of the week following the explosive report from The New York Times, “virtually all national advertisers” have abandoned The O’Reilly Factor. Also, Bill O’Reilly’s appearance on Thursday evening’s show was cut 15 minutes short “without warning or explanation.”
Thursday evening’s show also included only seven ads. At the 45-minute mark, The O’Reilly Factor “abruptly” ended. Shep Smith, Fox anchor, filled the remaining 15 minutes of air time with interviews regarding Syria. The evening programming was followed by regular Fox programming that included standard national advertising. Think Progress says that no one mentioned why Bill O’Reilly left the show abruptly.
[Featured Image by Richard Drew/AP Images]