At least 10 companies have now pulled their ads from The O'Reilly Factor, hosted by Bill O'Reilly, following the publication of the New York Times report that Fox News hid over $13 million in legal settlements with women who accused O'Reilly of sexual harassment.
Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai, BMW of North America, Constant Contact, Ainsworth Pet Nutrition, UNTUCKit, Allstate, T. Rowe Price, GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi are pulling ads from "The O'Reilly Factor" after a report about five settlements with women who alleged sexual harassment or verbal abuse by O'Reilly. [...]
Hyundai said early Tuesday that it is not currently advertising on "The O'Reilly Factor" but will remove upcoming ads because of the "recent and disturbing allegations."
"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," [Mercedes-Benz] spokeswoman Donna Boland told CNNMoney.
As of this morning, the number of companies dumping O'Reilly stood at just 3. By lunchtime, the number grew to 5. When I began typing this post, the number stood at 8. The number ditching O'Reilly will likely grow beyond 10 by the time this post is published. That's how quickly this is ballooning out of control for Fox News.
I certainly don't expect Fox News will fire Bill O'Reilly right now, but this is how it started for former host Glenn Beck. At some point, the network will find itself losing money on his program and may make a move to replace him if this continues. Beck bled the network dry over a long period of time before they finally dumped him.
On the other hand, Fox didn't pay out millions of dollars to settle claims against Glenn Beck. At least not that we know of. Fox has already spent tens of millions bailing out O'Reilly.
If you're a Fox shareholder, how do you feel about the network flushing money down the toilet for the sake of patriarchal loyalty? They could easily find a replacement for O'Reilly who will spew all the same bullshit without the baggage.
Federal prosecutors are currently investigating the possibility that Fox hid massive amounts of legal settlements from shareholders.