Published: Sun, April 16, 2017
Life&Culture | By Ted Wilson

More Companies Pull Ads From 'O'Reilly Factor' After Harassment Report

More Companies Pull Ads From 'O'Reilly Factor' After Harassment Report

Luxury auto maker Mercedes-Benz told BuzzFeed News on Monday it pulled advertisements from Fox News's hit show The O'Reilly Factor after several women claimed they were sexually harassed by the show's host, Bill O'Reilly. Mercedes Benz, GlaxoSmithKline, Caldwell Banker and Allstate are among the latest companies to pull ads from the show.

A report in the New York Times states that O'Reilly and his employer spent $13 million on five women trying to convince them to stop pursuing litigation.

Insurance giant Allstate has pulled its advertising from a top-rated Fox News show as a sexual harassment scandal at the network widens. CNN media reporter Dylan Byers went on CNN's "The Lead" Tuesday and said these companies "very much are organically pulling their ads". "That's not the case here", Byers added. In total, he and Fox News have settled cases with five different women over allegations that included "verbal abuse, lewd comments, unwanted advances and [inappropriate] phone calls".

An article about O'Reilly from The New York Times found he would create bonds with some women by offering advice and promising to aid in their professional careers. In an interview with CNNMoney, the automaker's spokeswoman Donna Boland, said, "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".

But last summer's forced departure of Ailes, who has vigorously denied the charges against him, was a step into the unknown for Fox. The company assured reporters it has reassigned its O'Reilly ads "in the midst of this controversy".

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"Based on the recent allegations and our strong commitment to inclusion, respect and tolerance in the workplace, we have made a decision to pull Constant Contacts ads from The O'Reilly Factor", Lark-Marie Anton, a spokesperson for Constant Contact, said in a statement.

In a statement, Fox News said that advertisers who pulled their ads would be directed to the network's other programs.

Hyundai representatives said it did not want to partner with a company which didn't respect values of inclusion and diversity.

Celebrities have used social media to ask Fox News to take action against the host, including comedian Patton Oswalt and Bette Midler. According to the Times, Fox News's parent company was aware of the sexual harassment suits and settlements and "structured [O'Reilly's new] deal to include more leverage over his behavior".

The Murdochs aren't afraid to act quickly and without sentimentality: Gretchen Carlson filed her sexual harassment lawsuit against Fox News chief executive Roger Ailes on July 6, and he was out of a job by July 21.

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