UPDATED with more details: The list of major companies is growing that say they’ve pulled ads from Bill O’Reilly’s Fox News Channel primetime show in the wake of Monday’s New York Times report of $13M allegedly “paid out over the years to address complaints from women about…O’Reilly’s behavior.”
Advertisers say they’re pulling ads from The O’Reilly Factor, but do not say they are pulling their ad dollars from Fox News Channel and their ads may be allocated to other programs on the network’s lineup, so it is unclear what financial impact the ad-pullouts will have on FNC.
But, the story is becoming increasingly problematic for FNC’s mother-company because, last summer when Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes exited in a hail of sexual harassment allegations, parent 21st Century Fox had pledged zero tolerance for any behavior that “disrespects women or contributes to an uncomfortable work environment.” The company recently re-upped O’Reilly’s contract and, NYT reports, some of the payments were made since Ailes’ exit.
O’Reilly’s program, for 14 years, hasbeen the most watched program in the cable news landscape, recently clocking its highest rated quarter ever. O’Reilly has denied all of the allegations against him.
Ainsworth Pet Nutrition, parent company of Rachael Ray-endorsed dog food brand Nutrish, said Tuesday afternoon it “removed our advertising from the program because of these recent and disturbing allegations,” according to FNC competitor CNN, which contacted 20 companies that advertise on O’Reilly’s program after the NYT report published.
UNTUCKit, which reports about 2/3 of its employees are women, instructed its media buyer Tuesday morning to reallocate its ad dollars to other shows, effective immediately, calling it “the right decision at this time.”
Digital marketing company Constant Contact said it pulled its ads from Factor, though it might have happened to late to effect the change in time for Tuesday night’s telecast.
Consumer healthcare company Sanofi said it’s scrubbed its ads too, but added, “We do not endorse the behavior or opinions of program hosts or the content” on shows in which it advertisers.
Angie’s List similarly said it does not endorse viewpoints of the “wide spectrum” of programs in which it advertises. But Angie’s List, unlike Sanofi, said that, for that reason, it has no plans to pull out of Factor, explaining in its statement, “Just as we trust members to make their own hiring decisions, we trust them to make their own media consumption decisions.”
BMW reported early Tuesday it had suspended its ads on The O’Reilly Factor. And Hyundai said it preemptively pulled plans to run ads on the program, though it was not currently advertising on the program, CNN reported Tuesday morning.
And, you won’t see Mercedes-Benz ads on The O’Reilly Factor for a while after NYT reported five women had received payouts and, in return, agreed not to pursue litigation or talk about their accusations.
The car company said its ads had been “reassigned,” calling the NYT allegations “disturbing.”
In its statement, Mercedes noted it runs ads on “most major cable news shows,” without explaining why that is relevant. “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,” the company said.
There had been no press reports about advertisers pulling spots from FNC when Fox News chief Ailes suddenly left the company last summer.
On Monday, when CNN ask advertisers if they were going to continue running spots on Factor in light of the NYT report, Lexus wins the prize for best tap dance, telling CNN:
The Lexus ads appearing on the O’Reilly Factor are part of a wide ranging media package, with ads appearing on a variety of cable television programs. We take our duties as a responsible advertiser seriously, and seek to partner with organizations who share our company culture and philosophy of respect for all people. We will continue to monitor the situation and will take any appropriate action through our media buying partners.
Jenny Craig, meanwhile, told CNN it “condemns any and all forms of sexual harassment,” but that “as a matter of corporate policy, we do not publicly comment on our advertising strategy” – except, that is, to say, “we are constantly evaluating our media buys to maximize the efficiency of our corporate investment and effectively reach our target audience.”
Loads more where that came from.
CNN also reported getting a number “looking into the matter” responses from various Factor advertisers on Monday.