Mercedes has reportedly pulled its ads from The O’Reilly Factor following allegations of sexual harassment against Fox News’ ratings king.
“We had advertising running on The O’Reilly Factor (we run on most major cable news shows) and it has been reassigned in the midst of this controversy,” a Mercedes spokesperson told CNN’s Tom Kludt.
Mercedes did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The New York Times reported on Saturday that Fox News and O’Reilly paid out $US13 million to women who accused him of harassment, ranging from “verbal abuse, lewd comments, unwanted advances, and phone calls ‘in which it sounded as if Mr. O’Reilly was masturbating, according to documents and interviews.'”
In addition to five women who reportedly received settlements totaling $US13 million, two others have also accused the conservative commentator of unwanted advances. When Wendy Walsh, a regular guest on The O’Reilly Factor, refused an invitation to go to O’Reilly’s hotel suite in 2013, he did not follow through on securing her a job at Fox News, according to The Times.
Former Fox News personality Andrea Tantaros also accused O’Reilly of sexual harassment in a lawsuit she filed last summer against the network and its former chairman Roger Ailes.
Ailes was ousted from the network last summer — with a $US40 million exit package — in a sexual harassment scandal.
O’Reilly has denied that there is any merit to the allegations against him, and hired crisis communications expert Mark Fabiani last week, who released a statement to The Times on behalf of O’Reilly.
“Just like other prominent and controversial people, I’m vulnerable to lawsuits from individuals who want me to pay them to avoid negative publicity,” the statement said. “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.
“But most importantly, I’m a father who cares deeply for my children and who would do anything to avoid hurting them in any way. And so I have put to rest any controversies to spare my children,” it continued.
In a statement to CNN’s Kludt, the Mercedes spokesperson called the allegations against O’Reilly “disturbing” and added that “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.”
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