The fallout has begun from Bill O’Reilly’s five sexual harassment settlements as Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Hyundai have pulled their ads from his Fox News program.
“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,” Mercedes spokeswoman Donna Boland told CNNMoney Monday, April 3.
Hyundai followed suit the next day, telling the website it did not presently air ads on “The O’Reilly Factor” but that planned commercials will be removed due to the “recent and disturbing allegations.”
“We will continue to monitor and evaluate the situation as we plan future advertising decisions,” Hyundai said Tuesday, April 4.
Hours later, BMW of North America told The New York Times it also would pull ads from the program.
The switch comes after the NY Times published a lengthy report on Saturday, April 1, stating that O’Reilly, who has the No. 1 cable news program, made inappropriate phone calls and unwanted advances that led to five payouts totaling $13 million over the course of 14 years. The first came in 2002 and the latest happened in 2016 amid the scandal surrounding ex-network chairman Roger Ailes, who now has more sexual assault allegations against him.
Wendy Walsh, who had a recurring guest stint on “The O’Reilly Factor,” said, when she declined an invitation to go to a hotel room with O’Reilly, he reneged on a promise to get her a paid position at Fox News, according to the NY Times. At a Monday, April 4, press conference, Walsh called for an investigation into the sexual harassment claims against the 67-year-old, Variety reported.
“Just like other prominent and controversial people, I’m vulnerable to lawsuits from individuals who want me to pay them to avoid negative publicity,” O’Reilly wrote in a statement on his website Saturday, April 1. “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. … I have put to rest any controversies to spare my children. … My primary efforts will continue to be to put forth an honest TV program and to protect those close to me.”
21st Century Fox, Fox New’s parent company, also pointed to the hotline — which the network told The Huffington Post it introduced in 2004 — and said O’Reilly “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.”
Other companies — like dog food-brand Nutrish, Jenny Craig and Lexus — are either staying mum, condemning O’Reilly’s alleged misconduct or continuing to monitor the situation, according to CNNMoney.
Twitter users are calling on more companies to get their commercials off the air during “The O’Reilly Factor.”
— Margo Jones (@3DTruth) April 4, 2017
Good evening @trivago. Not sure if you're aware or not, but you are currently sponsoring serial sexual harasser Bill O'Reilly.
— Stop Bill O'Reilly (@StopOReilly) April 4, 2017
Please stop running your commercials during @OReillyFactor. He is a pig.
— Michael Skolnik (@MichaelSkolnik) April 4, 2017
Others denounced O’Reilly, Ailes and President Donald Trump, who also has had his share of alleged sexual misconduct.
Donald Trump, Roger Ailes, Bill O'Reilly have 2 things in common. They are sexual predators but still heroes to the "evangelicals". Puzzling
— George Edward (@TrumanQuest) April 3, 2017
i'd like to thank trump and bill o'reilly for making sure i remain extremely aware of sexual assault this sexual assault awareness month
— Erin 🕳🏃🏻♀️Ryan (@morninggloria) April 3, 2017
— Moe Davis (@ColMorrisDavis) April 3, 2017