Another Bill O’Reilly accuser has come forward as The O’Reilly Factor host’s troubles mount. Former Fox News guest and psychologist Wendy Walsh now alleges to ABC News that the host offered to make her a contributor on his show, but he reportedly grew “hostile” when she rebuffed his advances. The two had gone to dinner to discuss O’Reilly’s apparent offer, and Walsh alleges that he tried to coax her back to his hotel suite. Once she refused, Walsh says that O’Reilly grew nasty and told her, “You can forget all the business advice I gave you, you’re on your own.” Following this encounter, an executive producer reportedly told Walsh that The O’Reilly Factor was taking a breather from hosting her as a guest.
Walsh’s account arrives following last weekend’s report that O’Reilly and Fox News paid a combined total of $13 million to five women who accused him of sexual harassment. This news resulted in Mercedes pulling a major ad campaign from The O’Reilly Factor. O’Reilly declined to address the allegations against him on Monday night’s edition of his show. However and back in the day (2004), O’Reilly did slam allegations by then-producer Andrea Mackris as “the single most evil thing I have ever experienced, and I have seen a lot.” He also warned, “These people picked the wrong guy.” His current silence has been eclipsed by several advertisers following Mercedes’ lead.
CNN Money reports that at least
seven eighteen more companies have suspended their ads, including two more automakers (Hyundai and BMW of North America) along with Ainsworth Pet Nutrition, GlaxoSmithKline, Allstate, Sanofi, and Constant Contact. Further, several other companies — including Claritin, Trivago, Zulily, Jenny Craig, and Lexus — are reportedly hanging tight and waiting to see how this shakes out.
Meanwhile, the National Organization of Women (NOW) is calling upon Fox News to fire O’Reilly. NOW President Terry O’Neill issued a statement:
“The report indicates that Mr. O’Reilly abused his position of power and engaged in a pattern of predatory, misogynistic behavior–enticing women with promises of career advancement, and threatening retribution when they rebuffed his sexual advances. The reported use of his powerful position to repeatedly manipulate women reveals a cruel misogyny that runs to the core of his character.”
Last year, Fox News was rocked by sexual harassment claims against former CEO Roger Ailes, who eventually stepped down from his post. Former network host Gretchen Carlson received a $20 million settlement as claims against Ailes continued to mount, including a suit that surfaced on Monday from Julie Roginsky of The Five.
The Washington Post has delivered a reminder to everyone that O’Reilly wholeheartedly defended Ailes last year: “In this country, every famous, powerful or wealthy person is a target. You’re a target … I’m a target.” Meanwhile, Fox News saw more bad news on Tuesday when a third black employee joined an existing racial discrimination suit against the network.
UPDATE: Fox News has issued a statement from Paul Rittenberg, Executive Vice President of Advertising Sales: “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.”