Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Report: 2 O'Reilly Sponsors Pull Commercials

The sexual harassment scandal that engulfed Fox News last year and led to the ouster of its chairman, Roger Ailes, continued to batter the network on Monday, as two major advertisers pulled their spots from the show of its top-rated host, Bill O’Reilly.

According to the NY Times, Mercedes-Benz and Hyundai said they were withdrawing their ads from Mr. O’Reilly’s prime-time show, “The O’Reilly Factor,” after The NYTimes published an investigation this weekend that found five women who made allegations of sexual harassment or inappropriate behavior against him. Those five women received settlements totaling about $13 million.

Together, the developments portray a network buffeted by allegations on multiple fronts, even as it draws record ratings with programming supportive of President Trump. Staff members remain anxious, some said on Monday, over questions about its workplace culture and its priorities.

NY Times graphic
If more advertisers abandon O’Reilly’s show, it will be a blow to Fox News, which provides billions of dollars in revenue each year to its parent company, 21st Century Fox. Mr. O’Reilly has long been the pugnacious face of a prime-time lineup that sets the tone for conservative commentary.

"We had upcoming advertising spots on the show but are reallocating them due to the recent and disturbing allegations,” Hyundai said in a statement. “As a company we seek to partner with companies and programming that share our values of inclusion and diversity.”

Other advertisers, such as Claritin, Trivago, Zulily and Jenny Craig, appear to be following the lead of Fox News executives, taking a “wait and see” approach to the swirling controversy surrounding the network’s biggest star.

"We take our duties as a responsible advertiser seriously, and seek to partner with organizations who share our company culture and philosophy of respect for all people,” Lexus said in a statement. “We will continue to monitor the situation and will take any appropriate action through our media buying partners."

The O’Reilly Factor generated $446 million in ad revenue between 2014 and 2016, according to CNN. Mercedes-Benz alone spent about $1.9 million in ads on the show during the last year, according to iSpot.tv, the TV ad analytics firm.

O’Reilly isn’t the only one not talking about the incident. Fox News has not responded to multiple requests for comment.

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