Fox News’s flagship cable program The O’Reilly Factor is hemorrhaging advertisers after a New York Times investigation revealed that five women who had accused Bill O’Reilly of sexual harassment had secretly received $13 million cumulatively in settlements from O’Reilly and the network.
On Monday evening, Mercedes-Benz and Hyundai announced that they’d be pulling their ads from the show. The next day, CNN reports, BMW of North America, Mitsubishi Motors, Lexus, Constant Contact, Bayer, Ainsworth Pet Nutrition, Untuckit, Allstate, T. Rowe Price, GlaxoSmithKline, Sanofi, and Wayfair followed suit.
That this is the tipping point is noteworthy, given that these advertisers didn’t feel the need to pull out when O’Reilly’s show ran multiple racist segments from aspiring comedian Jesse Watters. Or when he said that the slaves who built the White House had it okay. Or when he said the words, “There’s gotta be some downside to having a woman president, right?” Or when he referred to Rep. Maxine Waters’s “James Brown wig.” Or when it came out that his teenage daughter testified that she saw O’Reilly “choking her mom” as he “dragged her down some stairs” by the neck.
“We value our partners and are working with them to address their current concerns about the O’Reilly Factor,” said Paul Rittenberg, EVP of Advertising Sales at Fox News in a statement provided to CNN. “At this time, the ad buys of those clients have been re-expressed into other FNC programs.”
Meanwhile, Fox News contributor Julie Roginsky, who recently filed a lawsuit claiming ousted CEO Roger Ailes sexually harassed her and that the network subsequently retaliated against her when she rebuffed and reported him, tweeted Tuesday afternoon that she has requested that the NYC Commission on Human Rights and the NYC Corporation Counsel investigate the treatment of women at the network.
“As the Commission may be aware, the media has recently reported on a number of claims that have been asserted against Fox News, its management, and/or its on-air personalities for unlawful discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation, in addition to the Plaintiff’s claims,” the letter reads. “We respectfully request that the Commission conduct an investigation into non-compliance with the New York City Human Rights Law at Fox News, including the claims asserted in Plaintiff’s Complaint.”
O’Reilly, perhaps notably though not surprisingly, did not address the Times report on his Monday evening show. Don Lemon, however, did.
Correction: A previous version of this article said the settlements were paid out just by Fox News. They were paid out by the network and O’Reilly.
Update (April 5, 2017, 3:15 p.m.): The number of companies that have pulled ads has jumped to 35, with Invisalign, Stanley Steemer, and Advil among them. CNN has a good running list.