Back in 2004, when Bill O’Reilly’s then-producer Andrea Mackris sued him for $60 million for sexual harassment, the outspoken Fox News star used his popular show as a vehicle to blast the allegations made about him.
"This is the single most evil thing I have ever experienced, and I have seen a lot," O'Reilly said on The O’Reilly Factor at the time. "These people picked the wrong guy."
Monday night, O’Reilly was unusually silent during his first broadcast following a New York Times report revealing $13 million in payments made to settle claims made by former Fox News employees and personalities accusing him of inappropriate behavior and sexual misconduct. O'Reilly remained silent during his Tuesday night program.
The silence also comes as advertisers are increasingly fleeing The O'Reilly Factor. As of Wednesday morning, at least 21 companies – GlaxoSmithKline, Constant Contact, Ainsworth Pet Nutrition, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai, Allstate, men's clothing marketer UNTUCKit, Mitsubishi Motors, Lexus, Bayer, Orkin, Esurance (which is owned by Allstate), T. Rowe Price Credit Karma, Wayfair, The Wonderful Company, TrueCar, the Society for Human Resource Management, Coldwell Banker, and Sanofi, the parent company of Gold Bond and ACT mouthwash
"The controversy around The O’Reilly Factor program and allegations made against Bill O’Reilly are matters that we take seriously and will continue to monitor," a spokeswoman for Sanofi said.
"Based on the recent allegations and our strong commitment to inclusion, respect and tolerance in the workplace, we have decided to pull Constant Contact ads from The O’Reilly Factor,” the company said in a statement.
Ainsworth, which sells Rachael Ray's popular Nutrish pet food food line, spent much of Tuesday on Twitter informing followers it was no longer advertising on The O'Reilly Factor.
— Nutrish (@Nutrish) April 4, 2017
Mercedes-Benz was the first to pull its commercials from The O’Reilly Factor, saying in a Monday afternoon statement, “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."
Late Monday night, Hyundai followed suit, noting that it was reallocating its upcoming advertising spots on The O'Reilly Factor due to the "disturbing allegations" made against the show's host.
“As a company we seek to partner with companies and programming that share our values of inclusion and diversity," the company said in a statement.
Other advertisers, such as Claritin, Trivago, Zulily, and Jenny Craig, appear to be following the lead of Fox News executives, taking a “wait and see” approach to the swirling controversy surrounding the network’s biggest star.
"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,” Lexus said in a statement. “We will continue to monitor the situation and will take any appropriate action through our media buying partners."
So far, the moves aren't costing Fox News any money, as the network is simply shifting the ad buys to other programs.
“We value our partners and are working with them to address their current concerns about the O’Reilly Factor," said Fox News advertising executive Paul Rittenberg. "At this time, the ad buys of those clients have been re-expressed into other FNC programs.”
One company that won't pull its commercials is Angie's List, which said in a statement that the company's advertising strategy "is meant to reach as many people as possible."
"We place ads across a wide spectrum of venues intending to reach as many viewers/listeners/readers as possible without taking a position on the viewpoints of the venues themselves," Angie's List said.
The O’Reilly Factor generated $446 million in ad revenue between 2014 and 2016, according to CNN. Mercedes-Benz alone spent about $1.9 million in ads on the show during the last year, according to iSpot.tv, the TV ad analytics firm.
O’Reilly isn’t the only one not talking about the incident. Fox News has not responded to multiple requests for comment.
After the revelations made in the New York Times report, new executive vice president of human resources, Kevin Lord, sent a memo to employees urging them to report any inappropriate behavior they experience at Fox News.
Fox News exec vice president of human resources just sent this memo to entire staff about reporting concerns to management or Paul Weiss pic.twitter.com/ybo4jm69og
— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) April 3, 2017