Citing “recent and disturbing allegations” about Bill O’Reilly’s sexual harassment of Fox News female staffers, Hyundai said it was removing its ads from “The O’Reilly Factor,” saying in an email statement that though it has “no advertising running,”
“We had upcoming advertising spots on the show, but are reallocating them.”
The Hyundai decision follows that of Mercedes-Benz to withdraw its ads following a New York Times investigation “that found five women who made allegations of sexual harassment or inappropriate behavior against him.”
Mercedes-Benz spent about $1.9 million last year in advertising on O’Reilly’s show.
The Hyundai statement goes on to say,
“As a company, we seek to partner with companies and programming that share our values of inclusion and diversity. We will continue to monitor and evaluate the situation as we plan future advertising decisions.”
It is unknown if other sponsors will follow suit. CNNMoney says it “reached out to more than 20 companies and brands that have advertised on ‘The O’Reilly Factor'” and the consensus seems to be one of “monitoring the situation.”
The Rachel Maddow has been dominating Fox News, CNNMoney says O’Reilly is “coming off its highest-rated quarter in history – about 4 million viewers a night.”
While it might be more than a bit of a reach to claim, as CNN does, that O’Reilly “has established himself as one of the most successful nonfiction authors in the world” (what O’Reilly writes is about as far from nonfiction as you can get), there is no doubt that O’Reilly is a cash-cow for embattled Fox News.
The O’Reilly sexual harassment scandal is the one additional bit of trouble Fox News did not need right now.
The announcement of Fox contributor Julie Roginsky’s sexual harassment lawsuit against Fox News and Roger Ailes Monday night further damages the Fox brand.
As “The Daily Show” host Trevor Noah put it Monday night, O’Reilly is Donald Trump’s “propaganda partner” and O’Reilly’s fate will affect Trump.
Noah quipped, “You know how Trump can celebrate? By calling out his propaganda partner Bill O’Reilly at Fox News.”
That won’t happen, but if O’Reilly weren’t there, where besides Fox & Friends would Trump get insane material for his tweets? More than once he has watched O’Reilly and then run off to grab his smartphone and start tweeting.
The move by Hyundai, following so quickly on the heels of Mercedes-Benz decision and Roginsky’s lawsuit, could be the beginning of the avalanche that brings down not only Bill O’Reilly’s fake news empire, and one of Donald Trump’s strongest allies, but Fox News itself.