The Bill O’Reilly sexual harassment scandal is threatening to eat Fox News alive.
As if the network did not have enough legal entanglements.
First was the revelation this weekend that O’Reilly has settled at least 5 sexual harassment related lawsuits over the last 10 years, and that those settlements were paid by Fox News, or it’s parent company 20th century Fox.
More women have come forward since the report including former contributor Wendy Walsh.
These revelations did not stop the company from inking the controversial host to a lucrative extension that served as an effective slap in the face to the women within the company that were quietly hoping for action.
It does not help matters that Rachel Maddow is currently destroying the O’Reilly factor head to head during the 8PM television slot.
When the New York Times published their investigation, Fox and O’Reilly attempted to deflect the issue, and circle the wagons.
That may prove to be a fateful mistake.
Because the network won’t stand up for women, the national advertisers have decided too, and the response is shaking the television industry.
Mercedes pulled the plug last night, which unto itself was significant departure for the O’Reilly factor, but it would seem that the defection has created a domino effect according to CNN.
“Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai, BMW of North America, Constant Contact, Ainsworth Pet Nutrition, UNTUCKit, Allstate, T. Rowe Price, GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi are pulling ads from “The O’Reilly Factor” after a report about five settlements with women who alleged sexual harassment or verbal abuse by O’Reilly.
The decisions signal the potential of financial damage for “The O’Reilly Factor,” the most popular show on cable news, and its network, Fox News.
Hyundai said early Tuesday that it is not currently advertising on “The O’Reilly Factor” but will remove upcoming ads because of the “recent and disturbing allegations.”
18 companies have pulled advertising from the O’Reilly Factor, that’s devastating to any television show, and the revolt could start to affect the entire network if Fox does not take action.
It’s clear that firing Bill O’Reilly is the only solution to this problem.
His documented behavior towards women, coupled with 20th Century Fox’s apathy, has created a firestorm that is not going anywhere any time soon.
There already has been calls for an independent investigation into Fox News, as well as scrutiny from law enforcement agencies in New York.
By continuing to pay and promote Bill O’Reilly, Fox News is vouching for his behavior, and the network will be faced with relentless pressure and civil action if they don’t pull the plug right now.