Close to 50 companies have pulled their ads from the Bill O’Reilly Show on the Fox cable channel after the New York Times reported that Fox and O’Reilly had paid out $13 million to 5 women that he mistreated and sexually harassed. The money was paid to settle the women’s allegations of sexual harassment. In return they agreed not to publicly discuss the matter or pursue legal claims. O’Reilly has since left his show, which has been rebranded The Factor.
Two of the women are former producers of O’Reilly’s show and three are Fox network personalities. When the story broke many companies moved to pull their advertising from his show, not wanting to be associated with the allegations of sexual harassment. Those companies include Mercedes- Benz, BMW, and Hyundai.
A Hostile Workplace
Fox is still dealing with a scandal of a few months ago when longtime CEO Roger Ailes was fired after Gretchen Carlson sued him for sexual harassment. The $20 million settlement that Carlson received is one of the largest ever awarded to a single plaintiff sexual harassment suit, according to employment law specialists.
After Carlson’s suit, many other women came forward with similar claims, some of which were also settled by Fox. The women all described an atmosphere of inappropriate comments and expectations of favors for career advancement. After Ailes’s departure, employees were hoping for a change in workplace culture, but instead the network kept on several loyal deputies to Ailes and promoted them.
Since the New York Times story about O’Reilly, a sixth woman came forward who is not asking for money, but openly relating her story about how she refused O’Reilly’s sexual advances and was then punished at Fox.
Money Drives Decision Making
Bill O’Reilly is Fox’s biggest star and his show “The O’Reilly Factor” generated millions in ad revenue. Cable networks like Fox present news shows, but also expect them to make a profit. When deciding how to handle these latest accusations they will have to balance the opinions of the advertisers against those of the devoted audience of O’Reilly. While Fox does not want to risk alienating O’Reilly’s huge fan base, there is also the possibility they could end up the target of a social media campaign, suffering the backlash of outraged citizens.
For the moment the advertising revenue remains at the network. A top ad executive at Fox announced that the ads pulled from The O’Reilly Factor would be moved to other Fox programs.
Middletown Employment Lawyers at McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C. Fight for Victims of Sexual Harassment
Every employee has the right to a safe workplace that is free of discrimination and harassment. If you or someone you know is the victim of sexual harassment at work, you may be entitled to compensation. Reach out to the Middletown employment lawyers at McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C.. to learn more. Contact us online or call 732-842-6500 for a free and confidential consultation about your case. We have offices in Red Bank and Marlton, New Jersey to serve you.