Three more advertisers flee from Bill O'Reilly's Fox News show

Carla Harmon
April 9, 2017

And yet, by the most important yardstick for television executives, Fox has been thriving as never before.

It's a safe bet that O'Reilly's new book "Old School", a manifesto of sorts on the author's personal beliefs, will crack that list soon.

Fox News typically denigrates those who file suit or criticize its stars and executives, but it is now uncharacteristically subdued, in keeping with a promise made last summer that the culture of the network would change.

A report in the New York Times states that O'Reilly and his employer spent $13 million on five women trying to convince them to stop pursuing litigation. Ailes is facing a new sexual harassment case filed by a Fox News contributor, Julie Roginsky.

The advertiser boycotts, however, are likely manageable for Fox, said Pivotal Research Group analyst Brian Wieser in a note Tuesday.

Fox News is just months removed from the ousting of chairman Roger Ailes amid many allegations that he pressured female colleagues into sexual relationships and now may have another major scandal with Bill O'Reilly. Even if O'Reilly were forced to leave the network if the scandal broadened, the channel's brand is bigger than its hosts, he said.

Ainsworth Pet Nutrition, the parent company of the Rachael Ray-partnered dog food brand Nutrish, said it "removed our advertising from the program because of these recent and disturbing allegations". O'Reilly generates more than $100 million in annual advertising revenue, according to independent studies.

Mercedez-Benz said on Monday it was suspending its advertising on the show.

In a statement, Hyundai said it wanted to work with companies that "share our values of inclusion and diversity". The companies only said their advertisements will no longer run during the 8-9 p.m.

"We value our partners and are working with them to address their current concerns about the O'Reilly Factor", Paul Rittenberg, executive vice president of sales, said in a statement provided to Business Insider. Sanofi and Untuckit have the same plan. Also said to be involved are Glaxo Smithkline, Mitsubishi and BMW.

Several other automakers have since followed Mercedes' lead. Reports estimate that up to 22 advertisers have left the show.

"The O'Reilly Factor" is Fox News' most watched program and is coming off the highest-rated first quarter in its history, averaging 4 million viewers, according to Nielsen. "Mr. O'Reilly is fully committed to supporting our efforts to improve the environment for all our employees at Fox News", the statement continued.

Who has come forward against Bill O'Reilly and what have they said? This time around, while Fox continues to figure out how to "leverage O'Reilly's behavior", advertisers are decidedly not prepared to wait and see, and are dropping him like a bad habit instead.

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