Fox News is still standing behind TV host Bill O’Reilly—but advertisers are
recent report by The New York Times, more than 20 companies have pulled their commercials from the “The
O’Reilly Factor.” The Times reported that five women who accused
O’Reilly of sexual harassment and other inappropriate behavior had been
given a total of roughly $13 million in settlements.
After The Times article, O’Reilly quickly published
the following statement
on his show’s website:
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
But most importantly, I'm a father who cares deeply for my children and who
would do anything to avoid hurting them in any way. And so I have put to
rest any controversies to spare my children.
The worst part of my job is being a target for those who would harm me and
my employer, the Fox News Channel. Those of us in the arena are constantly
at risk, as are our families and children. My primary efforts will continue
to be to put forth an honest TV program and to protect those close to me.
Though Fox News has remained largely silent on the issue, its parent
company, 21st Century Fox, issued its support of the host in a statement
that said it takes claims “very seriously.”
Keep your cool in a crisis with these 13 tips.]
ABC News reported:
Asked about the Times' investigation, 21st Century Fox, Fox News' parent
company, said in a statement that it "takes matters of workplace behavior
"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," the
On Monday, organizations started to pull their sponsorship for the show. On
Tuesday, additional brands followed, adding to the boycott. Reports
estimate that up to 22 advertisers have left the show.
ABC News reported:
The companies are
Hyundai, Constant Contact, UNTUCKit, Sanofi,
Allstate, Ainsworth Pet Nutrition/
Rachael Ray Nutrish, T. Rowe Price,
Mitsubishi, Wayfair, MileIQ, Lexus, Bayer, Esurance, Credit Karma, True Car, The
Wonderful Company, Society of Human Resources Management, Coldwell Banker
New York Daily News reported:
Also suspending their spots are Nutrish, Rachael Ray’s pet food brand;
Sanofi, the parent company of Gold Bond; the online marketing company
Constant Contact; the pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline; the men's
shirt firm UNTUCKit; Esurance; investment firm T. Rowe Price; MileIQ;
Credit Karma; True Car; Orkin; Ancestry.com; and the Society for Human
Several organizations suspending their sponsorship have issued statements
distancing themselves from the beleaguered O’Reilly, including
Mercedes-Benz and UnTuckit, which was the show’s largest sponsor.
The Chicago Tribune
"While it's hard to tell what the facts are, the allegations are
disturbing," said Donna Boland, a spokeswoman for Mercedes-Benz. "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."
CNN Money reported:
The clothing company UNTUCKit said in a statement it was pulling its ads
from the "O'Reilly Factor," noting that two-thirds of its employees are
"Moreover, it is important our corporate partners reflect the same
principals [sic] of inclusivity and equality upon which we have built our
brand," the statement said. "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 closely monitor the
situation but believe this is the right decision at this time."
Other organizations have shared their statements online, further distancing
themselves from the growing scandal.
On Tuesday, Coldwell Banker tweeted a statement after its ad ran on the
Jenny Craig remains as an advertiser on the show, but issued a curt
statement condemning sexual harassment.
The New York Times
The weight loss company Jenny Craig was noncommittal, saying: “As an
organization, Jenny Craig condemns any and all forms of sexual harassment.
As a matter of corporate policy, we do not publicly comment on our
An ad for Jenny Craig appeared during Mr. O’Reilly’s show on Monday night.
Paul Rittenberg, Fox News’ executive vice president of sales, issued a short statement
following the advertiser exodus:
We value our partners and are working with them to address their concerns
about the O’Reilly Factor. At this time, those ad buys have been
re-expressed into other FNC programs.”
However, the statement—especially expressed alongside the network’s support
of O’Reilly—has done little to stem criticism, including calls for the
Terry O’Neill, president of National Organization for Women, demanded that
Fox fire O’Reilly
and issued a statement
which read, in part:
The culture of sexual harassment at Fox News must stop. The National
Organization for Women (NOW) calls for Bill O’Reilly to be fired and
demands an immediate independent investigation into the culture of sexual
harassment at Fox News.
… For too long women have endured dangerous sexism at the hands of powerful
men and powerful institutions. Fox News is too big and too influential to
simply let this go. Women have the right to go to work without facing
harassment. Fox News apparently doesn’t get that basic concept.
How would you advise Fox News to respond to the backlash, PR Daily readers?