Statement From Media Matters President Angelo Carusone On Bill O'Reilly Refusing To Address Sexual Harassment Report And Subsequent Advertiser Losses

WASHINGTON, D.C.-- Two nights in a row, Bill O’Reilly has failed to address a bombshell New York Times investigation which found that Fox News and O’Reilly have paid $13 million to settle with five women who accused him of repeated sexual harassment or verbal abuse.

Following tonight’s edition of The O’Reilly Factor, Media Matters President Angelo Carusone repeated his call for Fox News to fire its top host:

Tonight, O’Reilly’s remaining advertisers are faced with two questions: 1) Are they comfortable continuing to associate their brands with serial sexual predatory conduct? And, 2) Do they have complete and total confidence and trust in Fox News?

On the latter, it’s already clear that Fox News has grossly mishandled these allegations as well as the deeper culture of harassment and abuse there. Instead of putting a stop to sexual harassment, they appear to have worked to sweep it under the rug. And there is zero indication that Fox News intends on changing their approach.

On the former, this should be a no-brainer. The mere fact that a company would even hesitate about whether it’s appropriate to associate with serial sexual harassment is a reflection not only of those companies’ values, but just how deep of an issue this is in our society. Nearly 20 companies already pulled their ads from O’Reilly. In doing so, many explicitly cited their unwillingness to be tolerant of sexual harassment and abuse as their reason for action. Advertisers that stay with O’Reilly will need to explain to their customers and to their employees why the company is comfortable associating their brand with serial sexual harassment.

Questions for advertisers aside, one thing is certain: Just as we saw with similar advertiser campaigns, Bill O’Reilly’s ad rates will not only suffer, but they will never recover.

Media Matters is tracking in real-time the growing list of recent advertisers pulling their ads from airing during The O’Reilly Factor time slot. Click HERE to view O’Reilly’s advertisers from tonight and the past week and see which ones have committed to dropping their ads from his show.

Lessons We Learned From Glenn Beck’s Advertiser Losses:

Following a series of grassroots efforts beginning in July 2009, around the time Beck accused President Obama of being a “racist,” advertisers began fleeing his Fox News show.

A Media Matters study revealed that the number of paid advertisements during Glenn Beck's show plummeted and never recovered as a result of those grassroots efforts:

When Glenn Beck portrayed his departure from the network as self-initiated, a Fox News spokesperson issued a sharp rebuke contradicting Beck's claim, instead citing Glenn Beck's advertiser losses as the major cause of Beck's exit.


21st Century Fox’s Sham Internal Investigation:

In early July, Media Matters called on Fox News to take action against sexual harassment and wrote that if 21st Century Fox was truly serious about its “internal review” of Ailes and the culture of repeated sexual harassment or verbal abuse then they should commit to publicly release their findings.

21st Century Fox did not release the findings of their investigation. The Murdoch internal review of sexual harassment at Fox News also turned out to be a complete sham and little more than a pseudo-investigation. As news broke that Gretchen Carlson had settled with 21st Century Fox and received a public apology, Vanity Fair reported that “the Paul Weiss investigation … never officially expanded to examine the broader culture of Fox News.”

Both Of Roger Ailes’ Replacements Have Now Been Accused Of Participating In Fox News’ Culture Of Sexual Harassment:

In the summer of 2016, longtime Fox executives Jack Abernethy and Bill Shine became the network’s co-presidents, replacing Ailes, who left the network after dozens of women accused him of sexual harassment.

At the time, Media Matters said it was a disappointing signal that 21st Century Fox was not ready to take seriously the allegations and to end its culture of sexism, misogyny and even sexual harassment. Now, both of Roger Ailes’ replacements at Fox News, Bill Shine and Jack Abernethy, have been accused of participating in Fox News’ culture of sexual harassment.