More advertisers have removed spots from Fox News host Bill O'Reilly's show in the wake of a New York Times investigation that found Fox News and O'Reilly paid off even more alleged sexual harassment victims than initially thought.
One of O'Reilly's top advertisers, Mercedes-Benz announced Monday that it would not run any more commercials during O'Reilly's show. The automaker instead "reassigned" its advertising to other Fox News spots.
“Yes, we had advertising running on 'The O’Reilly Factor' (we run on most major cable news shows) and it has been reassigned in the midst of this controversy," Donna Boland, Mercedes-Benz corporate communications manager, said in a 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."
Since the announcement by Mercedes-Benz, 10 more advertisers have followed suit. Advertisers refusing to be associated with O'Reilly in the wake of the sexual harassment lawsuits include automakers BMW, Hyundai, and Mitsubishi; pharmaceutical manufacturers GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi Consumer Products; email marketing company Constant Contact; men's clothing line Untuckit; Ainsworth Pet Nutrition; insurance agency Allstate; and asset management firm T. Rowe Price, NBC News reported.
A representative for Hyundai clarified to CNN that it does not currently advertise on O'Reilly's program, but that as a result of the "recent and disturbing allegations," it has reversed its decision to run upcoming commercials.
The 11 companies have not withdrawn their money from Fox News altogether. The companies only said their advertisements will no longer run during the 8-9 p.m. Eastern Time slot, when the "The O'Reilly Factor" airs.
“We value our partners and are working with them to address their current concerns about the O’Reilly Factor. At this time, the ad buys of those clients have been re-expressed into other FNC programs," Paul Rittenberg, executive vice president of advertising sales at Fox News, said.
The business decisions came just days after the New York Times reported Fox News and O'Reilly paid as many as five women up to $13 million to settle sexual harassment lawsuits. The five complaints were in addition to multiple allegations made last year against ousted Fox News chairman Roger Ailes. O'Reilly was named in one of the lawsuits against Ailes and the company, although O'Reilly was not a defendant.
O'Reilly, for his part, has pushed back on the allegations, but seemed to admit paying to settle at least some of the claims.
"Just like other prominent and controversial people, I'm vulnerable to lawsuits from individuals who want me to pay them to avoid negative publicity," O'Reilly said in a statement released over the weekend, according to NBC News.
O'Reilly later added: "I have put to rest any controversies to spare my children."
21st Century Fox, which is Fox News' parent company, noted that none of the women who alleged sexual harassment called the company's anonymous hotline but said it "takes matters of workplace behavior very seriously." The network has renewed O'Reilly's contract for an undisclosed period of time.
O'Reilly's show generated more than $446 million in advertising revenue from 2014-2016.
"The O'Reilly Factor" is currently the highest-rated show on cable news, averaging around 4 million viewers per night.
Editor's note: This post has been updated to include a statement from Paul Rittenberg, Fox News executive vice president of advertising sales.