The mass exodus continues. More than60 advertisers have cancelled spots. The network stands to lose up to $1 billion in advertising.
The original post below was published April 4 12Noon.
It seems the only news that isn’t fake over at Fox News are its sexual scandals. The sexual predator network is getting financially hammered over its culture of misogyny perpetuated by program hosts and corporate leaders alike. There’s a price to pay for sexual harassment and Fox is paying a huge one now: the loss of millions in advertising dollars.
Two major advertisers are pulling their prime-time spots from the show of pugnacious host Bill O’Reilly. And another lawsuit has surfaced describing the sexual advances of former chairman Roger Ailes, who was ousted last year for his being a complete sleazeball. Mercedes-Benz and Hyundai said they were withdrawing their ads from The O’Reilly Factor after the New York Times published an investigation over the weekend that found five women who made allegations of sexual harassment or inappropriate behavior against him. The women received settlements totaling about $13 million.
“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,” Donna Boland, the manager of corporate communications for Mercedes-Benz, wrote in an email. Mercedes-Benz has spent an estimated $1.9 million in ads on “The O’Reilly Factor” in the last year.
Hyundai, which will remove upcoming ads, released a statement citing “the recent and disturbing allegations.”
As a company, we seek to partner with companies and programming that share our values of inclusion and diversity,” the statement said. “We will continue to monitor and evaluate the situation as we plan future advertising decisions.
The question now is whether other advertisers will follow Mercedes and Hyundai. If so, the network could stand to lose billions.
CNN Money reached out to more than 20 companies and brands that have advertised on The O’Reilly Factor. One of them, Lexus, said in a statement, “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.”
O’Reilly has refuted the claims of these women, calling himself the real “victim.”
Attorney Lisa Bloom, who is representing Wendy Walsh, one of the accusers featured in the NYT report, held a press conference, in which they took issue with O’Reilly’s claim to be a “target” of lawsuits.
Other women who are under gag orders, who cannot talk, they have been silenced,” said Walsh, “I had to be the voice for them.
“Bill O’Reilly, you call out whiners as delicate snowflakes,” Bloom said in a statement. “But you’re the one whining now.”
O’Reilly isn’t the only one causing trouble over at Fox, which continues to feel the financial repercussions of its former chairman Roger Ailes’ sexual peccadilloes.
Echoing the complaints that other women have made about Ailes, Julie Roginsky, a current Fox contributor, filed a lawsuit in New York State Supreme Court against Ailes, Fox News and Bill Shine, the network’s co-president on Monday. She stated in her complaint that the former chairman made unwanted sexual advances toward her during one-on-one meetings in his office, including requiring that she “bend down to kiss him hello” when he sat in a low armchair and telling her that they would get into “so much trouble” if he took her “out for a drink.” Ailes also would tell her that she should “engage in sexual relationships with ‘older, married, conservative men,’” the suit stated.
If you remember, former Fox anchor Gretchen Carlson also sued Ailes for harassment and received a $20 million settlement after leaving the network. Roginsky’s lawsuit could set them back a few million more.
Given Fox’s place as the hub for conservative opinion, policy and behavior — not to mention serving as the propaganda arm for Donald Trump, the network’s sexually aggressive culture should damn well have some consequences for the political dialogue. And yet, it doesn’t.
What is it with Republicans? They profess to respect women but continue to get away with their sexual aggression against them.
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