Mercedes-Benz and 20 others pull ads from The O'Reilly Factor following allegations of sexual harassment against the host

Mercedes-Benz pulls ads from The O'Reilly Factor following further allegations of sexual harassment against the host

Mercedes-Benz and 20 other advertisers have, according to CNN, pulled ads from The O'Reilly Factor on Fox News after the host and network settled out of court on sexual harassment claims.

Automaker Hyundai is one of the brands which has confirmed it will not go forward with planned slots it had booked out for the show. Also said to be involved are Glaxo Smithkline, Mitsubishi and BMW.

The move from the companies has come in response to a report from the New York Times which claims that over the course of several years settlements totaling $13m had been reached with five women who accused the presenter of inappropriate behavior, including sexual harassment and verbal abuse.

"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," Donna Boland, a spokeswoman for Mercedes-Benz USA, said in a statement.

"The allegations are disturbing and, 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."

Hyundai, meanwhile, said that as a company it sought to partner with companies and programming that shared its values of inclusion and diversity: "We will continue to monitor and evaluate the situation as we plan future advertising decisions," it added in a statement.

Fox News executive vice-president ad sales Paul Rittenberg said in a statement: "We value our partners and are working with them to address their current concerns about The O’Reilly Factor." He added: "At this time, the ad buys of those clients have been re-expressed into other FNC programs."

O’Reilly’s program has been the most-watched program on US cable news for 14 years, recently clocking its highest-rated quarter ever. O’Reilly has denied all allegations against him.

The cold shoulder from advertisers bookmarks a troubled 12 months for Fox. Last year its chairman and chief executive Roger Ailes stepped down following a sexual harassment lawsuit brought against him by former employee Gretchen Carlson. Fox settled the lawsuit back in September issuing an apology for Carlson’s treatment while employed under Ailes.

Earlier this week, current Fox contributor Julie Roginsky filed another lawsuit against Ailes, Fox News and Bill Shine, the network’s co-president, asserting that she faced retaliation for rebuffing Ailes’s sexual advances and for refusing to disparage Carlson.

Fox News has moved to contain the fallout from the weekend’s developments, distributing an internal memo to colleagues urging them to report any such behavior, with Kevin Lord - the network's head of HR saying: "Particularly in light of some of the accounts published over the last few days, I wanted to re-emphasize the message we have been conveying at our training sessions for several months."

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Rebecca Stewart

Rebecca Stewart is a reporter at The Drum. Based in London, she writes news, analysis and features around brand marketing and digital innovation. She has interviewed key figures from the likes of Airbnb, Amnesty International, Unilever, Facebook and Spotify, as well as covering international events like Ad Week Europe, Dmexco and Ciclope.

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