On Saturday, it came to light that Fox News and Bill O’Reilly had paid out $13 million dollars to settle five different allegations of sexual harassment leveled against against O’Reilly. The host of The O’Reilly Factor is no stranger to controversy, but these allegations were particularly disturbing, including “a wide range of behavior, including verbal abuse, lewd comments, unwanted advances and phone calls in which it sounded as if Mr. O’Reilly was masturbating, according to documents and interviews.”
However, at least this repulsive behavior is leading to repercussions, as Mercedes has pulled their advertisements from The O’Reilly Factor in response to these reports. In a statement to CNN, Mercedes explains that their ads will be “reassigned,” despite show being the most popular on cable news: “The allegations are disturbing and, 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.”
From the looks of things, this could be the first of many brands pulling away from O’Reilly, with Jenny Craig considering breaking with the Fox News centerpiece as well, saying:
“As an organization, Jenny Craig condemns any and all forms of sexual harassment,” a spokesperson for Jenny Craig told The Daily Beast. “As a matter of corporate policy, we do not publicly comment on our advertising strategy. What I can tell you is that we are constantly evaluating our media buys to maximize the efficiency of our corporate investment and effectively reach our target audience.”
On top of that, Lexus is also on the brink of cutting ties as well, releasing a similar statement:
“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.”
It can often seem like powerful men with the right connections are given carte blanche for bad behavior, so it’s especially refreshing to see these companies take action in a powerful way.