Advertisers dump Fox News after harassment allegations against host Bill O'Reilly

Over the weekend, a New York Times investigation reported Fox News anchor Bill O'Reilly had quietly settled a number of claims of sexual harassment or inappropriate behavior lodged against him, paying out nearly $13 million in settlements.

So far, BMW, Hyundai, Lexus, and even Mitsubishi announced they would also stop advertising during "The O'Reilly Factor".

"As a company we seek to partner with companies and programming that share our values of inclusion and diversity", Hyundai said. They joined Mercedes Benz, which said Monday it was backing away from Mr O'Reilly's show.

Fox News has moved to contain the fallout from the weekend's developments, distributing an internal memo to colleagues urging them to report any such behavior, with Kevin Lord - the network's head of HR saying: "Particularly in light of some of the accounts published over the last few days, I wanted to re-emphasize the message we have been conveying at our training sessions for several months". Fox counts on O'Reilly to generate an outsize share of its revenue and profit, which reached an estimated US$1.7 billion (NZ$2.44b) past year, a record since the network's founding in 1996.

That was due in large part to Fox News and O'Reilly, the network's top host.

Wieser noted some advertisers had already made a decision to stay way following the sexual harassment scandals of the network's departed head, Roger Ailes, and newly concerned companies will wind up on other Fox News programs.

The outlet reports that since 2002, O'Reilly or Fox News' parent company has paid five women a total of $13 million to avoid litigation and media attention.

O'Reilly responded Tuesday afternoon by tweeting that Lemon "refuses to cover" the allegations against Rice.

On Monday, radio host Wendy Walsh said that O'Reilly had promised to make her a network contributor after numerous guest appearances on The O'Reilly Factor in 2013. The real question is: How many more will it take before Fox News follows suit?

But O'Reilly's top-rated show may now be starting to feel a financial sting.

His program, "The O'Reilly Factor", generated $178 million in advertising revenue for Fox News in 2015, Kantar Media reported. "At this time, the ad buys of those clients have been re-expressed into other FNC programs".

For the most recent week, the show averaged 3.3 million Nielsen viewers.

"They care about their stands on the environment, they care about their stands on consumer issues, they care about their stands on workplace practices", said Marick Masters, a professor at Wayne State University.

Fox News recently extended O'Reilly's contact for an indefinite period time at $18 million a year.

In a statement, Fox News said that advertisers who pulled their ads would be directed to the network's other programs. Another popular former Fox host, Glenn Beck, eventually lost his job because many advertisers didn't want to have anything to do with his show despite its large audience.

  • Larry Hoffman