Advertisers flee ‘The O’Reilly Factor’ en masse

Latest sexual harassment claims has corporations rethinking their association with Bill O’Reilly.

CREDIT: Diana Ofosu/Composite
CREDIT: Diana Ofosu/Composite

Over 40 companies have announced they are ending advertising on The O’Reilly Factor. The news comes in the wake of a New York Times story which revealed Bill O’Reilly and Fox News have paid five women who accused the top-rated cable host of sexual harassment.

At least three of those companies, Sanofi, Untuckit, and Allstate, advertised on the show last night, when O’Reilly did not mention the controversy.

“In light of the disturbing allegations, we instructed our media buyer this morning to reallocate our ad dollars to other shows effective immediately,” a spokesperson for Untuckit said. Allstate in a statement wrote that “inclusivity & support for women are important to us. We are concerned about the issues surrounding the program & have suspended our ads.”

Other companies pulling their spots include Mercedes, Mitsubishi, BMW, Hyundai, GlaxoSmithKline, Constant Contact, T. Rowe Price, Ainsworth Pet Nutrition, Wayfair, Credit Karma, MileIQ, Bayer (including Claritin), Lexus, Orkin, the Wonderful Company (POM), TrueCar, the Society for Human Resource Management, Coldwell Banker, Voya Financial, Ancestry.com, H&R Block, Touchnote, LegalZoom, WeatherTech, Advil, Bausch + Lomb, Jenny Craig, ODFL Inc., Subaru, Amica Insurance, Visionworks, Consumer Cellular, Pacific Life, Carfax, GoodRx, Stanley Steemer, the Propane Council, BeenVerified, Southern New Hampshire University, Peloton, Reddi Wip, Bamboo HR, GEICO, Eli Lilly, Esurance, Land Rover, Infiniti, Next Day Blinds Pfizer, SCOTTeVEST, Mattress Firm, and Flonase.

MileIQ, in a response to ThinkProgress, noted that while they are taking the matter “very seriously,” some prebooked ads might appear on O’Reilly’s program as they wait for the cancellation to take effect.

Dozens of other advertisers, including Microsoft, Comcast, and Esurance, ran ads during Monday night’s show and have not responded to inquires, though Esurance has since pulled its ads.

If more advertisers follow, it could pose an existential threat to the O’Reilly Factor. The show, which has the highest ratings in cable news, brought in $178 million in 2015.

Wendy Walsh, a former Fox News guest, said O’Reilly “became hostile” after she rebuffed an invitation to his hotel room. She was subsequently blacklisted from O’Reilly’s show. Walsh appeared with her attorney, Lisa Bloom, on Monday and demanded an independent investigation into the culture of sexual harassment at Fox News.

The pressure on O’Reilly is likely to intensify. Sleeping Giants, a online group that has successfully pressured hundreds of advertisers to abandon Breitbart.com, announced it would turn its attention to O’Reilly.

Fox News recently extended O’Reilly’s contact for an indefinite period time at $18 million a year.

This post has been updated to reflect additional advertisers.

UPDATE: Paul Rittenberg, Executive Vice President of Advertising Sales for Fox News, sent ThinkProgress the following statement Wednesday morning: “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.”