Advertisers flee Fox's Bill O'Reilly Show amid sexual harassment lawsuits

O'Reilly accuser'My voice is not for sale

The Top-rated Fox News show The O'Reilly Factor, a subsidiary of Twenty-First Century Fox Inc (NASDAQ:FOXA) may no longer have the popularity it has been enjoying.

"The O'Reilly Factor" is Fox News' most watched program and is coming off the highest-rated first quarter in its history, averaging 4 million viewers, according to Nielsen. The company went on to say women are a large part of their business and the program is not a good environment to advertise their products. BMW said it wasn't sure where it would place its ads instead.

Fox and O'Reilly have paid $13 million to five women who had accused the talk show host of sexual harassment, according to the New York Times. Mr. O'Reilly is the network's most popular talk show host.

Fox News acknowledged the advertiser defections in a statement released on Tuesday, April 4. The campaign has already tweeted support for a few of the companies who've pulled their ads from the show.

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A spokesman for the commission said as of Monday night that no claim has been filed.

"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. As for the details of those allegations, we'll leave that bit of reporting for others.

A spokeswoman for the digital marketing company Constant Contact said it, too, was yanking its ads.

The O'Reilly Factor, which draws nearly four million viewers a night, generated more than $446 million in advertising revenue from 2014 through 2016, according to the research firm Kantar Media.

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GlaxoSmithKline said it had "temporarily put a hold" on ads on O'Reilly's show while it reviews the situation. Ailes has denied previous allegations.

"At this time, the ad buys of those clients have been re-expressed into other (Fox) programs", said Paul Rittenberg, executive vice president for ad sales. A spokesperson said the company would not further discuss media strategy publicly. BMW and Hyundai soon followed suit. "We are now reviewing the information available". Like Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai found the allegations "disturbing" and said they want to partner with those who share their values of inclusion and diversity.

Ailes left the company last summer after several sexual harassment allegations from former employees. Companies deal with matters that are not consistent with their values seriously. 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".

O'Reilly is a similar draw in publishing, where he has established himself as one of the most successful nonfiction authors in the world. Fox News was able to sustain the recent defection of Kelly to NBC, as O'Reilly's strong following has the potential to turn whoever airs after him into a hit.

21st Century Fox investigating O'Reilly harassment claims
We reached out to Fox News for comment. 21st Century Fox also pointed out the lack of hotline reports in their own statement. He also said that there were no official complaints at Fox News' Human Resources department against him.

Representatives for Fox News and 21st Century Fox did not immediately answer questions.


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