Advertisers flee Bill O'Reilly's show but impact unclear

U.S. Senator Mike Enzi

U.S. Senator Mike Enzi

FILE - Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is interviewed by Bill O'Reilly, during the Fox news talk show "The O'Reilly Factor", Friday, Nov. 6, 2015, in NY.

After The New York Times published an investigation over the weekend showing that O'Reilly and Fox have paid out $13 million in settlements in sexual harassment cases with five separate women, news has been rolling in that advertisers are dropping off O'Reilly's show left and right.

Acting through adviser Mark Fabiani, who did damage control for President Bill Clinton, O'Reilly has issued a brief written statement saying he has become a target "for those who would harm me and my employer, the Fox News Channel".

"I think he shouldn't have settled; personally I think he shouldn't have settled", Trump told the Times on Wednesday. "I don't think Bill did anything wrong", Trump said. The news has sparked an exodus of advertisers telling Fox they didn't want to be involved in O'Reilly's show. Fox News is scared because this is the kind of scandal that can put any company no matter how big out of business. According to Nielsen, the show was the most-watched cable-news program Tuesday among total viewers and the 25-54 demographic.

The new controversy surrounding the loofah fetishist, however, has not lead to his removal as the National Organization for Women (NOW) called for on Tuesday; Fox reportedly renewed his contract.

Advertising boycotts have succeeded in the past. Robinson said an advertising boycott was more hard to organize against Limbaugh because he receives more support from local companies in individual markets.

Bill O'Reilly has adopted a strategy of silence but the ad industry should not.

When Ailes was forced out, 21st Century Fox said it was determined to change the culture to make it a more respectful workplace, and its top human resources executive this week re-emphasized that in a staff memo following the filing of another lawsuit by a woman who said her career stalled because she rejected Ailes' sexual advances. Fox News is not going to be able to ride this out and hope it goes away. She calls O'Reilly and Trump "two of a kind".

Just hours after the publication of that story, "Ailes was hit with another sexual discrimination lawsuit", as USA Today wrote Monday.

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