While Bill O’Reilly continues to enjoy historic ratings, some of his advertisers are beginning to get a little squeamish over the stream of sexual harassment allegations against the Fox News personality.So far, automakers Mercedes-Benz and Hyundai have announced they are pulling their ads from the top-rated “O’Reilly Factor” after reports that there have been five settlements with women who allege sexual harassment or verbal abuse by O’Reilly.
CNN – a competitor – is reporting that the decisions “signal growing financial damage for the most popular show on cable news and its combative anchor.” Whether that’s true or not remains to be seen, but there are literally millions of possible advertisers. Two does not necessarily mean anything.
Early Tuesday morning, Hyundai said they were not advertising on the show because of “recent and disturbing allegations.”“We will continue to monitor and evaluate the situation as we plan future advertising decisions,” the company said.Mercedes-Benz used similar language on Monday when it pulled its own ads. 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,” spokeswoman Donna Boland said.So far, settlements totaling $13 million have reached with the five women who have accused O’Reilly of inappropriate behavior. Much of the money has been paid by O’Reilly himself.
The show has generated more than $440 million in ad revenue in the last two years. The show’s host is also a best-selling author whose books have been adapted for television.On his show, O’Reilly averages about four million viewers per night.
CNN contacted all 20 of the show’s advertisers asking them about the allegations:One of them, Lexus, said in a statement, “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 through our media buying partners.”A spokesperson for Jenny Craig said that the organization “condemns any and all forms of sexual harassment,” but declined to comment further.The dog food brand Nutrish declined to comment “on anything related to our media buy.”