Though the show’s ratings are up since the news broke on Saturday that Fox paid out $13 million to settle sexual harassment allegations against star Bill O’Reilly, advertisers are pulling their ads out of spots during the network’s most profitable show, The O’Reilly Factor.
This comes less than a year after Roger Ailes, Fox News founder and former chairman and CEO, resigned following his own sexual harassment scandal. 21st Century Fox agreed to settle the Ailes harassment claim for $20 million in September, the The New York Times reported.
Now, Fox News and O’Reilly have said almost nothing about the recent report that five women received about $13 million from O’Reilly or Fox News’ parent company, 21st Century Fox, to settle allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior by O’Reilly. In total, Fox has lost more than 60 advertisers from The O’Reilly Factor, Motto reported on Thursday, prompting some to call it a boycott.
“We value our partners and are working with them to address their current concerns about The O’Reilly Factor,” said Paul Rittenberg, EVP of advertising sales at Fox News, in a statement. “At this time, the ad buys of those clients have been re-expressed into other FNC programs.”
The brands pulling their ads from The O’Reilly Factor include carmakers Subaru, BMW, Hyundai, Mitsubishi and Lexus; healthcare brands GlaxoSmithKline, Sanofi, Advil and Bayer; also Wayfair, Orkin, T. Rowe Price, Allstate and Esurance, Adweek reported.
In the aftermath of allegations against founder Ailes, Fox initiated a company investigation which led to Ailes’ eventual resignation, and the network offered a public apology to former anchor Gretchen Carlson.
O’Reilly produces more revenue than anyone else for Fox News, according to research firm Kantar Media and reported by USA Today. He brought in more than $178 million in ad dollars in 2015 and $118.6 million in the first nine months of 2016, and Fox News overall makes up one-fifth of parent company 21st Century Fox’s profit, according to estimates from Anthony DiClemete, a media analyst with the Nomura investment bank. Fox News also enjoyed 2016 as the most-watched across all of the cable networks, as well as its best financial quarter ever in the first three months of 2017. Fox News averaged 2.4 million viewers in prime time, Nielsen research shows.