Mercedes-Benz and Hyundai said they would withdraw their ads from Fox News’s The O’Reilly Factor after a New York Times investigation found that seven women had previously accused him of sexual harassment.
“Given the importance of women in every aspect of our business, we don’t feel this is a good environment in which to advertise our products right now,” said Donna Boland, the manager of corporate communications for Mercedes-Benz, to the Times.
“As a company, we seek to partner with companies and programming that share our values of inclusion and diversity,” a statement from Hyundai said. “We will continue to monitor and evaluate the situation as we plan future advertising decisions.”
Altogether, five of the women who accused O’Reilly received $13 million in settlements, the Times reported. Another has a lawsuit against the network currently pending, while one woman claimed she didn't complain about O'Reilly's behavior for fear it would endanger her career. That woman, O’Reilly Factor regular Wendy Walsh, said that after she turned down a sexual advance from the host, he reneged on a promise to get her a contributor job at the network.
O’Reilly denied the allegations in a statement provided to the Times.
“Just like other prominent and controversial people,” he said, “I’m vulnerable to lawsuits from individuals who want me to pay them to avoid negative publicity. In my more than 20 years at Fox News Channel, no one has ever filed a complaint about me with the Human Resources Department, even on the anonymous hotline.”
The report about O’Reilly comes as Fox News’s former chairman, Roger Ailes, became the subject of a new lawsuit filed by a Fox News contributor alleging she was punished for refusing his sexual advances toward her.
Ailes was ousted by the network last summer after former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson made similar claims against him.
The new lawsuit led Walsh to call for an independent investigation into the culture at Fox News. The United States attorney’s office in Manhattan is currently investigating the network.