As of this writing, according to AdWeek, upwards of 50 different advertisers have pulled their ads from The O’Reilly Factor in the wake of the recent NY Times report detailing the $13 million Fox and O’Reilly have paid out to settle harassment claims against him since 2002. Those advertisers jumping ship include Suburu, BMW, Hyundai, Mitsubishi, Lexus, GlaxoSmithKline, Sanofi, Advil, Bayer, Wayfair, Orkin, T. Rowe Price, Allstate, Esurance, Coldwell Banker, Mercedes-Benz, The Wonderful Company, Credit Karma, Orkin, Esurance, UNTUCKit, the Society for Human Resource Management, TrueCar, Wayfair, Ancestry, LegalZoom, H&R Block, Invisalign, Vision Works, Pacific Life, Old Dominion Freight Line, Touchnote, Carfax, Reddi Wip, Stanley Steemer, Jenny Craig, and others.
Imagine a future where Bill O’Reilly has to do live reads for Shari’s Berries between libido supplements. It’s nice, isn’t it? And it looks like we’re getting there, but more importantly, his advertisers running away now raises the obvious question: what did they think they were underwriting for the past decade? What, exactly, is the line of acceptable shame for a Fox News advertiser?
Of the five settlements uncovered in the New York Times piece (not including two other non-settled allegations of inappropriate behavior alleged in the same report), two were already known. In fact, the world has known about Bill O’Reilly being a sexual harasser since at least 2004. That was the year his former O’Reilly Factor producer Andrea Mackris sued O’Reilly for sexual harassment, which was especially embarrassing (or should’ve been) for the guy who was, at the time, about to go out on tour promoting The O’Reilly Factor For Kids, which is a real book that actually exists.
Fox and O’Reilly initially tried to fight back, with O’Reilly countersuing Mackris for extortion,using his lawyer to plant slimy tabloid stories about her, and hiring private investigator (and Fox News contributor) Bo Dietl to smear Mackris. The fruits of that campaign included a New York Post story about Mackris allegedly getting into an argument at a bar with then pastry chef Bethenny Frankel (who would go on to star in The Apprentice: Martha Stewart, The Real Housewives of New York, Bethenny Getting Married, Bethenny Ever After, and others) entitled “EXCLUSIVE: O’Reilly Accuser In Bar Blow Up.” The story quoted Frankel as saying, of Mackris, from whom Frankel had allegedly tried to borrow a chair, “She literally verbally attacked and abused and harassed us… like a raving lunatic.”
The Post later ran a story about Matthew Paratore, who owned a bar Mackris frequented, in which Paratore made the totes plausible claim that Mackris once tore her clothes off in front of him, telling him “If you think I’m going to f*ck Bill O’Reilly, I’m going to f*ck you even more.”
O’Reilly’s lawyer, Ronald Green, fed other charming rumors to the New York Daily News, including one in which Mackris’ nickname had supposedly been “Andrea Mattress” when she was a White House intern back in 1991.
That news cycle ended only when Mackris’ lawyers played O’Reilly’s lawyers the actual tapes Mackris made of O’Reilly’s harassing phone calls. Perhaps you remember “loofa/falafel” gate? That came from the actual audio of a phone call from O’Reilly to Mackris, included in the court documents, which went something like…