Fox News is suffering from an increasing advertiser boycott of its highly popular show, The O’Reilly Factor. The reason for the boycott is because its host Bill O’Reilly has been slapped with sexual harassment by five of its former staff. The New York Times reported that the five women got a total of $13 million worth of settlements from Fox News.
Wendy Walsh is one of the women who filed for sexual harassment. Walsh said she was not seeking money. Walsh said, “I just want a nontoxic work environment for my daughters and their generation.”
Fox News, said, “Notwithstanding the fact that no current or former Fox News employee ever took advantage of the 21st Century Fox hotline to raise a concern about Bill O’Reilly, even anonymously, we have looked into these matters over the last few months and discussed them with Mr. O’Reilly. 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.”
More than 15 advertisers have already pulled out of the show, including global automobile and consumer goods brands. The companies that are boycotting the show include Orkin, Coldwell Banker, Society of Human Resources Management, The Wonderful Company, True Car, Credit Karma, Esurance, Bayer, Lexus, MilelQ, Wayfair, Misubishi, T.Rowe Price, Rachael Ray Nutrish/Ainsworth Pet Nutrition, Allstate, Sanofi, UNTUCKit, Constant Contact, Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and GlaxoSmithKline.
Online, social media users pressured other companies to boycott the O’Reilly Show.
Mercedes-Benz spokesperson Donna Boland, said, “We had advertising running on the O’Reilly Factor, and it has been reassigned. Given the importance of women in every aspect of our business, we don’t feel this is a good environment.”
Car Maker, Lexus, said, “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. We will continue to monitor the situation and will take any appropriate action.”
According to Kantar Media, a market research firm, “The O’Reilly Factor” rakes in the most money than any other Fox News show. In 2015, the show generated $126 million in revenue.
Clothing company UNTUCKit, who has two-thirds of its workforce as women, said, “Moreover, it is important our corporate partners reflect the same principals of inclusivity and equality upon which we have built our brand. In light of the disturbing allegations, we instructed our media buyer this morning to reallocate our ad dollars to other shows effective immediately. We will continue to monitor the situation but believe this is the right decision at this time.”
O’Reilly, the father of two children, said that he pushed for the settlements “to put to rest any controversies to spare my children.” O’Reilly, said, “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.”