And it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy!
An advertiser boycott against Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly picked up dramatic speed Tuesday in a rapid-fire reaction to the news that the outspoken host has been the subject of a succession of sexual-harassment allegations over the past 15 years.
At least 11 companies, including leading car, financial and pharmaceutical advertisers, confirmed that they had pulled ads or planned to shift upcoming ads away from “The O’Reilly Factor” in the wake of reports that O’Reilly and Fox had settled five complaints made by women who have worked with him at the news network since 2002.
Collectively the advertiser retreat, which seemed to grow in a chain reaction throughout the day, represented the most significant threat to O’Reilly seen during his long, successful and occasionally controversy-riven career at Fox. A similar but slower retreat by advertisers led to the demise of Glenn Beck’s highly rated Fox program amid boycott calls by African Americans and Jewish groups in 2011.
Among the companies that confirmed they were suspending or removing ads from his program were the automakers Hyundai, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Mitsubishi Motors; financial firms T. Rowe Price and Allstate Insurance; drugmakers Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline; plus Ainsworth Pet Nutrition, the online marketing company Constant Contact and men’s apparel seller Untuckit. The list continued to grow late in the day; by early evening, CNN had pegged the number of companies pulling their ads at 18.