PlayRichard Drew/AP PhotoWATCH Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly reacts to sexual-harassment settlements
Nineteen companies have announced that they are pulling advertising from Fox News’ “The O’Reilly Factor,” hosted by Bill O’Reilly, following allegations of misconduct published by The New York Times this past weekend.
The companies are GlaxoSmithKline, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, 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 and Orkin.
In response to advertisers dropping “The O’Reilly Factor,” Fox News said in a statement Tuesday, “We value our partners and are working with them to address their current concerns about ‘The O’Reilly Factor.’ At this time, the ad buys of those clients have been re-expressed into other FNC programs .”
An investigation published by The New York Times on Saturday reported that five women received settlements from Fox News totaling some $13 million after making misconduct accusations against top-rated host Bill O’Reilly. Some of these settlements were already known and date back to 2004. ABC News has not been able to independently verify new information in the Times story.
Asked about the Times’ investigation, 21st Century Fox, Fox News’ parent company, said in a statement that it “takes matters of workplace behavior very seriously.”
“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 statement continued.
In a statement posted on his website on April 1, O’Reilly wrote in part: “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 anonymous hotline.”
He said that the “worst part” of his job was “being a target for those who would harm me and my employer,” and his “primary efforts will continue to be to put forth an honest TV program and to protect those close to me.”
“The O’Reilly Factor” brings in more revenue than any show on Fox News, or its main competitors CNN and MSNBC, according to Kantar Media, a market research firm. The firm said that the show brought in some $126 million in revenue in 2015.
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But that hasn’t stopped a slew of brands from pulling advertisements from O’Reilly’s program.
T. Rowe Price said in a statement, “We regularly evaluate our media buys to ensure alignment with our corporate values, and in light of the recent allegations we have decided to pull our upcoming ads from ‘The O’Reilly Factor.'”
Allstate, meanwhile, said that the accusations go against its corporate values. “Inclusivity and support for women are important Allstate values. We are concerned about the issues surrounding the program and we have suspended our advertising.”
Like Allstate, Bayer also specifically cited its commitment to women. “Bayer supports a safe, respectful and non-abusive environment for women and we have reached out to Fox to voice our concerns regarding this matter,” the pharmaceutical company said in a statement.
ABC News’ Josh Margolin, Aaron Katersky and Devin Villacis contributed to this report.