Things have gone from bad to worse for embattled host Bill O’Reilly after the New York Times revealed he paid out millions to settle claims made by former Fox News employees and personalities accusing him of inappropriate behavior and sexual misconduct.
It took less than a week for a backlash against The O’Reilly Factor consisting of two advertisers to swell into a full boycott of the show, with over 60 companies now saying they won’t advertise on the network’s most popular programs.
In fact, Friday night’s episode of The O’Reilly Factor had just 10 national advertisers. That’s down from 55 advertisers on Monday night, according to iSpot.tv, the TV ad analytics firm.
The boycott hasn't yet hurt the bottom line at Fox News, which has said most companies have shifted their advertisements to other programs on the network. But the growing list of companies refusing to advertise on The O'Reilly Factor has created a public relations nightmare for executives at the network, which have largely taken a "wait and see" approach to the backlash over O'Reilly's alleged behavior.
Angie’s List, which advertised on Wednesday and said earlier in the week it didn’t plan to pull its commercials from O’Reilly’s show, has decided to join the growing boycott and will no longer place ads on the popular Fox News program.
"We are no longer advertising on the program,” a spokeswoman for Angie’s List said on Friday night.
The normally outspoken O’Reilly has remained silent throughout the week, even as another accuser, radio talk show host Dr. Wendy Walsh, publicly accused the host of reneging on his offer to make her a Fox News contributor after she refused to visit him in his hotel suite.
After detailing her allegations in a press conference earlier in the week, Walsh filmed herself lodging her official sexual harassment complaint against O'Reilly to a Fox News hotline.
21st Century Fox responded to the Times report last week, saying in a statement it “denies the merits of these claims.” And O’Reilly said in a statement on his website that he settled the claims in order to “put to rest any controversies to spare my children.”
Headed into next week, the only company that has made a solid commitment to advertising with O’Reilly is Rosland Capital, which buys and sells gold, silver and other metals. CNN reported that the company was the largest advertiser on The O’Reilly Factor in 2015 and most of 2016, according to Kantar Media, an advertising data research firm.
"Around 10% of our ad spend with [Fox News] is for advertising that runs on that particular program," Rosland said of The O’Reilly Factor. "At this time, we have no plans to change our advertising strategy."
Mercedes-Benz, the first company to boycott O’Reilly’s show, spent about $1.9 million in ads on the show during the last year, according to iSpot.tv. Overall, The O’Reilly Factor generated $446 million in ad revenue between 2014 and 2016, according to CNN.
Since then, it has been joined by several large brands, including Lexus, GlaxoSmithKline, Eli Lilly and Allstate, to name just a few. Some companies, such as Trivago and Expedia, are evaluating whether they will drop The O’Reilly Factor or not, but have yet to announce their plans.
Despite the boycott, ratings have actually gone up this week on the popular Fox News show. Nearly 3.8 million viewers tuned in to Tuesday night’s episode, an increase of 20 percent from the same day last week, according to Nielsen data. On Wednesday and Thursday, 3.6 million and 3.7 million viewers tuned in, respectively. Data wasn't immediately available for Friday night's episode.
Here is a list of all the current companies that have said they will be pulling their commercials from The O’Reilly Factor. This list will be updated:
• Ainsworth Pet Nutrition
• Allstar Products Group
• Amica Insurance
• BMW of North America
• Coldwell Banker
• Constant Contact
• Consumer Cellular
• Credit Karma
• Eli Lilly and Company
• H&R Block
• Jenny Craig
• Land Rover
• Laser Spine Institute
• Mattress Firm
• Next Day Blinds
• Old Dominion Freight Line
• Pacific Life
• POM Wonderful
• Progressive Insurance
• Propane Council
• Reddi Wip
• Society for Human Resource Management
• Southern New Hampshire University
• Stanley Steemer
• T. Rowe Price
• Weather Tech
• The Wonderful Company