Ratings Skyrocket, Sponsors Flee as Trump Endorses Fox News Host O'Reilly
Apr 09 2017 by Johnny Bowman
O'Reilly said in a weekend statement that being a well-known public figure makes him vulnerable to lawsuits and that the settlements were made to put "any controversies" to rest.
Last week, a report in the New York Times revealed that Bill O'Reilly has been at the center of various sexual harassment and verbal abuse charges from various women.
Paul Rittenberg, executive vice president of advertising sales for Fox News, said that the company will move advertisements from these companies to other Fox News shows.
A Fox News spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment.
The number of ads that run on "The O'Reilly Factor" has been steadily declining as a growing amount of companies boycott the show amid the Fox News host's sexual harassment scandal.
Despite the renewed attention on O'Reilly's sexual misconduct and corporations doing their best to distance themselves from the bloviating host, ratings for "The O'Reilly Factor" were up this past week. "Many of the initially reluctant advertisers eventually came back to Limbaugh".
"I don't think Bill did anything wrong", Trump said as he assured his fellow-scandal survivor that he has his full support.
The chaotic scene and rotating cast of characters may explain why Trump chose to go "off script" from remarks or talking points about domestic policy to defending O'Reilly, "a good person", in Trump's estimation, who it was recently reported paid out millions (along with Fox News) to settle sexual harassment claims and has since lost dozens of advertisers. O'Reilly nevertheless easily outpaced Maddow in total viewers, drawing in 3.6 million to her 2.6 million for the night. That is a 20 percent boost from the previous Tuesday. The consequences for low-wage workers can be even more severe, as they "often have little bargaining power" and "are least able to absorb the financial blow of a reduction in hours, or of sudden changes in their work schedules that make it hard for them to arrange child care or transportation to work". If advertisers are serious about confronting sexual harassment, they must stop financially supporting a company that has shown little desire to resolve its toxic culture of harassment.
More than 60 companies have pulled out from the show since Saturday.
Associated Press writer David Bauder contributed to this report.
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