UPDATED with new info: Companies continue to drop ads from Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor in the wake of the harassment allegations surrounding its host Bill O’Reilly. By Wednesday evening, ABC News is reporting that the number of companies that have pulled their ads from the top-rated primetime program had increased to 52.
Among the new companies that removed their advertising: Advil, Bristol Myers Squibb, Jenny Craig, Jaguar, Infiniti, Geico and Reddi-wip/Con Agra, among others.
PREVIOUS with new info – April 4: The list of companies pulling their ads from Bill O’Reilly’s Fox News Channel primetime show has now grown to 21 advertisers. The list is as follows:
Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai, BMW of North America, Mitsubishi Motors, Lexus, Constant Contact, Bayer, Ainsworth Pet Nutrition, Orkin, UNTUCKit, Allstate, Esurance (which is owned by Allstate), T. Rowe Price, GlaxoSmithKline, Sanofi, Credit Karma, Wayfair, The Wonderful Company, TrueCar, the Society for Human Resource Management and Coldwell Banker.
PREVIOUS – Fox News statement on advertising pullouts: 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 this weekend’s New York Times report of $13 million allegedly “paid out over the years to address complaints from women about…O’Reilly’s behavior.”
About 18 advertisers have issued statements about pulling their ads from the show, but have not said they are pulling their ads from Fox News Channel. In fact, FNC says otherwise:
“We value our partners and are working with them to address their current concerns about The O’Reilly Factor. ” Fox News EVP Ad Sales Paul Rittenberg said in a statement, adding, “At this time, the ad buys of those clients have been re-expressed into other FNC programs.”
O’Reilly’s program has been the most-watched program in the cable news landscape for 14 years, recently clocking its highest-rated quarter ever. O’Reilly has denied all allegations against him.
The advertiser pullout is becoming increasingly problematic for FNC’s mother company because when Fox News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes exited last summer 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.
On Monday, when the NYT story got snatched up by other media outlets in a big way, Lexus told CNN of it’s Factor ads that it seeks “to partner with organizations who share our company culture and philosophy of respect for all people,” adding, “We will continue to monitor the situation and will take any appropriate action through our media buying partners.”
Tuesday, however, Lexus told Deadline in a statement: “We take our duties as a responsible advertiser seriously and have been closely monitoring the situation involving The O’Reilly Factor. In response, we have asked our media-buying partners to move all Lexus ad inventory out of the program.”
Insurance company Allstate also has suspended its advertising because, the company said in a statement, “we are concerned about the issues surrounding the program.”
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 two-thirds 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 too late to effect the change in time for Tuesday night’s telecast.
Pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline and asset management firm T. Rowe Price have added their names to the list of exiting companies.
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. 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.
Mitsubishi joined in the exodus.
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 Ailes suddenly left the company last summer.
Jenny Craig, meanwhile, told CNN Monday 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 Monday.