Ad pullout on Fox's O'Reilly program reaches 23 companies

Cheryl Sanders
April 6, 2017

Twenty advertisers have announced they were withdrawing their ads from "The O'Reilly Factor" after an investigation revealed multiple settlements involving the Fox News host Bill O'Reilly over sexual harassment allegations and inappropriate behavior.

"Personally, I think he shouldn't have settled", Trump said in an interview in the Oval Office with New York Times reporters.

"I think he's a person I know well - he is a good person", said Trump. I think he shouldn't have settled.

According to the New York Times report published on Saturday, the amount paid out to at least five women by Fox News and Bill O'Reilly, in exchange for their silence and an agreement to not pursue litigation, totaled to around $13 million. This interpretation aligns with O'Reilly's own messaging; Fox News issued a statement to the Times explaining that O'Reilly "denies the merits of these claims", but he "has resolved those he regarded as his personal responsibility". Trump blasted all the news media for not covering Obama' national security adviser Susan Rice with the same ire as that of glorified right-wing state propaganda network Fox News.

O'Reilly isn't even the first other person Trump has defended from sexual harassment charges. But while the advertisers' moves may send a strong signal to consumers, so far, it is unclear whether there will be any long-term negative impact on either Fox News or "The O'Reilly Factor".

The decisions signal the potential of financial damage for "The O'Reilly Factor", Paul Rittenberg, the executive vice president of advertising sales at Fox News, addressed the exodus in a statement on Tuesday.

In Trump's testimony for O'Reilly, the guy whose only friends are his terrified children once again offered himself as a character witness-but notably, there's also some room for semantic interpretation there.

BMW said it suspended advertising on the show due to the recent allegations, as did T. Rowe Price, Sanofi, Ainsworth and Constant Contact. "Mr. O'Reilly is fully committed to supporting our efforts to improve the environment for all our employees at Fox News". Taking the history of the show and its major contributions to the network it is unlikely The O'Reilly Factor will disappear. On Tuesday, his program averaged 3.8 million viewers, according to Nielsen data. "It's very sad because he's a very good person".

Henry Holt, the publisher of O'Reilly's new book "Old School", has said it has "no comment at this time" on the allegations against its author.

Separately, the securities fraud division of U.S. Attorney's office in NY is investigating how 21st Century Fox handled the scandal. O'Reilly has interviewed Trump dozens of times as a presidential candidate and prior to the launch of his campaign.

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