Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor has lost at least 20 advertisers since a New York Times report revealed that host Bill O’Reilly and Fox News’ parent company, 21st Century Fox, paid $13 million to five women who made sexual harassment allegations against O’Reilly. O’Reilly denied all wrongdoing in a brief statement on April 1, and he has refused to address the situation on air. In the past, O’Reilly has repeatedly smeared women who accused men of sexual harassment and assault and defended multiple men against a variety of such allegations.
Advertisers Flee As O’Reilly Dismisses Sexual Harassment Allegations
CBS: Advertisers Flee The O’Reilly Factor As Sexual Harassment Allegations Come To Light. According to CBS News, at least 20 companies have removed their advertisements from Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor since a New York Times report found that host Bill O’Reilly and Fox News’ parent company, 21st Century Fox, paid $13 million to five women who claimed O’Reilly sexually harassed them. In a statement, O’Reilly has denied the accusations, claiming he is “vulnerable” due to what CBS described as his “high-powered job at Fox.” From the April 5 report:
When Fox News host Bill O’Reilly was accused of sexual harassment by a former producer more than a decade ago, advertisers stuck by the cable news personality. Today, a growing number of companies are distancing themselves from his popular show, “The O’Reilly Factor,” following a spate of new allegations of various improprieties.
So far, at least 19 advertisers have pulled their spots or promised to do so. They include household names such as automakers BMW, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz and Mitsubishi, drugmakers GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi, and financial services stalwarts Allstate and T. Rowe Price, as well as less known brands such as Constant Contact. Other businesses moving to cut ties with O’Reilly’s show include Ainsworth Pet Nutrition, which is associated with talk show host Rachel (sic) Ray; life sciences company Bayer; Hyundai; weight-loss company Jenny Craig; and men’s shirt seller UNTUCKit.
A Fox News spokesperson didn’t respond to a request for comment. In a previous statement, the media company said that while the Fox News host “denies the merits of these claims, Mr. O’Reilly has resolved those he regarded as his personal responsibility.”
O’Reilly, 67, denies wrongdoing, saying in an April 1 statement that his high-powered job at Fox makes him “vulnerable” to lawsuits and that in his 20 years at Fox News he has never been the subject of a complaint filed with the company’s HR department. [CBS News, 4/5/17]
O’Reilly Has Repeatedly Defended Men From Allegations Of Assault And Harassment While Smearing Accusers
O’Reilly: “I Stand Behind Roger [Ailes] A Hundred Percent” Amid Sexual Harassment Allegations. After former Fox host Gretchen Carlson filed a lawsuit against then-Fox News CEO Roger Ailes, O’Reilly appeared on Late Night with Seth Meyers to defend his boss, saying, “I stand behind Roger a hundred percent.” O’Reilly also blamed the allegations on an “out-of-control tabloid society,” adding, “In this country, every famous, powerful or wealthy person is a target.” From the July 14 edition of NBC’s Late Night With Seth Meyers:
SETH MEYERS (HOST): Gretchen Carlson, your old colleague at Fox News, has issued some allegations, some sexual harassment allegations, over your boss, Roger Ailes. What is your position on this, or what did you think when you heard this?
BILL O’REILLY: Well, I think it’s a very sad situation, number one. And I’m just going to say this about it. I’ve worked for Roger Ailes for 20 years, right? Best boss I’ve ever had. Straight shooter, always honest with me. And I believe that over the years -- he’s been in the business for 50 years -- 95 percent of the people who have worked for Roger Ailes would say exactly the same thing that I just told you. In this country, every famous, powerful, or wealthy person is a target. You’re a target, I’m a target. Anytime, somebody could come out and sue us, attack us, go to the press, or anything like that. Until Amer -- and that’s a deplorable situation because I have to have bodyguards. I have to hire bodyguards, physical bodyguards, all right? Until the United States adopts the English system of civil law, whereby if you file a frivolous lawsuit and you lose, the judge has a right to make you pay all court costs -- until we adopt that very fair proposition, we’re going to have this out-of-control tabloid society that is tremendously destructive. I stand behind Roger a hundred percent. [NBC, Late Night With Seth Meyers, 7/14/16]
O’Reilly: “The Sexual Harassment Thing Is Used As A Club … By Many Women.” According to the New York Daily News, in 2004 O’Reilly claimed, “The sexual harassment thing is used as a club … by many women.” O’Reilly added, according to the Daily News, that some women “manipulate themselves and use their sexuality to get ahead.” From the April 5 Daily News report:
In Bill O'Reilly's world, men are “barbarians” who can't control themselves — and women often use sexual harassment accusations as a “threat” against powerful male peers.
The Fox News host expressed those views in a March 2004 segment of “The O'Reilly Factor” about accusations from women in the workplace.
O'Reilly's remarks came in a segment about Naomi Wolf, a feminist writer who had claimed one of her Yale professors rubbed her thigh while working with her. O'Reilly brought on Linda Mills, a New York University social work professor who has written about domestic abuse, to discuss the issue.
O'Reilly told Mills he thinks men are “barbarians” when they're around attractive women.
“They're just barbarians, okay. They see a good looking woman. It's — they're not [respecting] their intellect,” he said, according to transcripts of the show.
“If they get a come-on at all by the woman whom they feel is attractive, then they're in,” he said.
O'Reilly said in the interview that he “kind of” believed Wolf's claim about her professor — but usually didn't believe any of the accusations women make.
“I think that the sexual harassment thing is used as a club, as I said, by many women,” he said.
“It's something they have against men, a threat to keep men at bay in a very competitive marketplace.”
Later in the segment, O'Reilly said “there are women who manipulate themselves and use their sexuality to get ahead.”
“And then these women will turn around and file a sexual harassment,” he said.
“But how do you prove it? It's very difficult to prove.” [New York Daily News, 4/5/17]
O’Reilly Smeared Woman Who Accused Trump Of Sexual Assault Because “He Was Just A Regular Guy.” O’Reilly defended then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump from allegations that he sexually assaulted a woman on a plane years ago, saying, “If the woman on the airplane was indeed sexually assaulted, but not only Donald Trump or any other man or anybody on this earth, all she had to is tell the flight attendant, that person would have been arrested. OK. Donald Trump wasn't famous back then. He was just a regular guy. And nothing happened.” From the October 13 edition of The O’Reilly Factor:
BILL O’REILLY (HOST): What did you think of Mr. Trump's statement?
BERNIE GOLDBERG: What did I think? Not much. Not much. It sounded like more of Donald's righteous indignation. He doesn't deserve the benefit of the doubt. There have been too many accusations from too many women in too many different places. There was Donald on the hot mic that was released last week. There's a tape which you might want to think about running from the Howard Stern Show where Howard’s sidekick says, “Donald, you're a sexual predator.” He smiles, chuckles a little bit and says, “Yeah, I am.”
O’REILLY: But wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. That's a comedy show. I mean, look. Everybody who knows --
GOLDBERG: You know what, if you are say you’re a sexual predator on a comedy show, that’s on you.
O’REILLY: All right, I disagree.
GOLDBERG: I don't know if these --
O’REILLY: Let me have my say and then you can say. Donald Trump is an entertainer. OK. He goes on shows like Howard Stern's to get people to watch his program, The Apprentice, or buy his books, or whatever. When he goes in there, he -- back then when it happened -- was basically trying to entertain. All right? He had no public policy on his mind, none of that. All right? He's an entertainer. And then the stuff that he says, you know how raunchy the Stern Show can get. All right? But it's a comedy, satirical show. It’s then used in a serious manner against him. Don't you think that's a little much? I'm not diminishing because I don't know. I mean, I'm not diminishing anything, any claims or anything. But I think it's a bit much at this point.
GOLDBERG: What I'm saying, Bill, is he brings it on himself.
O’REILLY: But he was an entertainer.
GOLDBERG: Well, then stay in entertainment. He's in the wrong line of work.
O’REILLY: Real quick and I gotta go. If the woman on the airplane was indeed sexually assaulted, but not only Donald Trump or any other man or anybody on this earth, all she had to is tell the flight attendants, and that person would have been arrested. OK? Donald Trump wasn't famous back then. He was just a regular guy. And nothing happened. [Fox News, The O’Reilly Factor, 10/13/16]
O’Reilly: “I’m Not Interested In” Allegations Of Sexual Harassment At Fox Because It “Makes My Network Look Bad.” O’Reilly dismissed former Fox host Megyn Kelly’s allegations that Ailes sexually harassed her, saying, “I’m not interested in” discussing the issue because it “makes my network look bad.” From the November 15 edition of CBS’ CBS This Morning:
NORAH O’DONNELL (CO-HOST): On Fox News, Megyn Kelly has a new book coming out. Have you read it?
BILL O’REILLY: No. I have not read it.
O'REILLY: I want to be very candid here: I'm not that interested in this.
GAYLE KING (CO-HOST): No?
O'REILLY: No, I mean, it’s over for me.
NORAH O’DONNELL (CO-HOST): In sexual harassment? You’re not interested in sexual harassment?
O'REILLY: I’m not interested in basically litigating something that is finished, that makes my network look bad. OK? I'm not interested in making my network look bad. At all. That doesn't interest me one bit.
O'DONNELL: Is that what she's doing?
O'REILLY: I don’t know, but I’m not going to even bother with it. I've got a country that's in a transition, political transition. All right? I've got a kids book that I want millions of kids to look at. That's what I'm interested in, not making my network look bad. [CBS, CBS This Morning, 11/15/16]
O'Reilly On Kelly’s Sexual Harassment Allegations: “If Somebody Is Paying You A Wage, You Owe That Person Or Company Allegiance.” O’Reilly, once again, dismissed Kelly’s claims, saying, “If somebody is paying you a wage, you owe that person or company allegiance.” From the November 15 edition of Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor:
BILL O'REILLY (HOST): This morning James Patterson and I were on CBS This Morning discussing “Give Please A Chance” when the conversation shifted to some problems the Fox News Channel had earlier this year. I was not amused.
So here's the deal. If somebody is paying you a wage, you owe that person or company allegiance. If you don't like what's happening in the workplace, go to human resources or leave. I've done that. And then take the action you need to take afterward if you feel aggrieved. There are labor lawyers in this country. But don't run down the concern that supports you by trying to undermine it. Factor tip of the day: Loyalty is good. [Fox News, The O’Reilly Factor, 11/15/16]
O’Reilly: Trump Admitting Sexual Assault Was Merely “Crude Guy Talk.” Following the release of a tape showing Trump bragging about committing sexual assault, O’Reilly characterized the conversation as “crude guy talk.” From the October 7 edition of Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor:
BILL O'REILLY (HOST): Let's start with presidential politics. Here are the facts: 2005, Donald Trump was doing a segment with Access Hollywood. He was speaking with the entertainment reporter Billy Bush privately about women. The Washington Post somehow acquired that audiotape. I'm not going to play too much of it, because it's crude guy talk. [Fox News, The O’Reilly Factor, 10/7/16]
O'Reilly: Herman Cain Was “Very Strong” In His Defense Against Sexual Harassment Accusations. O’Reilly defended former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain from accusations of sexual assault, saying Cain was “very strong” in his defense against the allegations. From the November 8, 2011, edition of Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor:
BILL O’REILLY (HOST): Herman Cain today was very emotional in his defense and flat out denied that he did anything wrong, at all. He was very strong. [Fox News, The O’Reilly Factor, 11/8/11]
O’Reilly Blamed “Moronic” Woman For Being Raped and Killed Because She Was “Wearing A Miniskirt And A Halter Top. … Every Predator In The World Is Gonna Pick That Up.” In 2006, O’Reilly blamed a victim for being raped and killed, calling her “moronic” and adding, “She was 5 foot-2, 105 pounds, wearing a miniskirt and a halter top with a bare midriff. ... Every predator in the world is gonna pick that up at 2 in the morning.” From the August 2, 2006, edition of Westwood One’s The Radio Factor With Bill O’Reilly:
BILL O'REILLY (HOST): So anyway, these two girls come in from the suburbs and they get bombed, and their car is towed because they're moronic girls and, you know, they don't have a car. So they're standing there in the middle of the night with no car. And then they separate because they're drunk. They separate, which you never do. All right?
Now Moore, Jennifer Moore, 18, on her way to college. She was 5-foot-2, 105 pounds, wearing a miniskirt and a halter top with a bare midriff. Now, again, there you go. So every predator in the world is gonna pick that up at 2 in the morning. She's walking by herself on the West Side Highway, and she gets picked up by a thug. All right? Now she's out of her mind, drunk.
And the thug takes her over to New Jersey in the cab and kills her and rapes her and does all these terrible things to her. And the thug is so stupid, he uses her cell phone, and the cops trace it back to him and they -- and they arrest him and charge him with murder. He had a prostitute girlfriend with him, and she's charged as an accessory to murder. But Jennifer Moore is in the ground. She's dead. [Westwood One, The Radio Factor With Bill O’Reilly, 8/2/06]