Thirty-six companies so far have pulled ad buys from Fox News’ “The O’Reilly Factor” amid allegations of sexual harassment against host Bill O’Reilly, according to CNN Money.
Carfax pulls out of The O’Reilly Factor, bringing the number of companies to withdraw to (at least) 36 pic.twitter.com/RYeLosHU19
— Tom Kludt (@TomKludt) April 5, 2017
The mass exodus came after the New York Times published a report on Saturday revealing that at least five women took a total of $13 million in settlements from O’Reilly or 21st Century Fox after making allegations of sexual harassment and other behavior against the top host.
21st Century Fox said in a statement obtained by the Times that O’Reilly “denies the merits of these claims.”
“We value our partners and are working with them to address their current concerns about the O’Reilly Factor,” Fox News executive vice president of advertising sales Paul Rittenberg wrote in a statement on Tuesday. “At the time, the ad buys of those clients have been re-expressed into other FNC programs.”
BREAKING: Statement from Fox News on the wave of advertisers pulling out of The O’Reilly Factor pic.twitter.com/sBcRqnTwVV
— Tom Kludt (@TomKludt) April 4, 2017
Those allegations were the latest in a line of complaints dating back to former Fox News host Andrea Tantaros’ lawsuit filed in August 2016 charging top executives at the network with retaliating against her for reporting sexual harassment by ousted CEO Roger Ailes.
In that suit, Tantaros alleged that O’Reilly asked her to come stay at his home in Long Island, which he said would be “very private.” She also alleged that O’Reilly told her on multiple occasions that he could see her “as a wild girl.”
Fox News executives struck a $1.6 million settlement agreement in September 2016 with former network host Juliet Huddy, one of the five women interviewed by the New York Times.
In a letter from Huddy’s lawyer to Fox News in August 2016, she alleged that O’Reilly kissed her without permission in 2011, when she was a regular guest on his show. Huddy also alleged that O’Reilly called her after work hours for “highly inappropriate and sexual” conversations during which she said he sometimes sounded like he was masturbating.
Wendy Walsh, a onetime regular guest on O’Reilly’s show, told reporters on Monday that O’Reilly became “very hostile” and froze her out of a job opportunity after she turned down inappropriate advances he made in 2013.
Despite those allegations, Fox News recently renewed its contract with O’Reilly, according to a Wall Street Journal report citing unnamed sources close to the parties involved.