Bill O'Reilly taking a break amid sponsor backlash

Rebecca Barbier
Abril 19, 2017

If he goes off the air for a while, will calm return?

The number of minutes of paid advertising on Bill O'Reilly's Fox News program fell more than two thirds by the end of last week as advertisers scrambled to distance themselves from the host's sexual harassment scandal. He reportedly paid $13 million dollars to settle the lawsuits, but furious viewers have called for a boycott of any company that advertises on The O'Reilly Factor. He will return April 24.

"Around this time of year, grab some vacation because it's spring and Easter time", he said in his "Tip of the Day" segment Tuesday night.

After playing the clip of a male passenger being forcibly removed by aviation police officers Sunday from United flight 3411, O'Reilly chuckled as he said to Fox News correspondent Rob Schmitt, "I shouldn't be laughing, but it's just so freakish".

Advertisers have been fleeing the show in droves in the week since the NY Times expose, with more than 60 companies including BMW, Hyundai and Mercedes refusing to run ads on "The O'Reilly Factor". Meaning in March he had an average of nearly 15 minutes per episode of advertisement, and the other day they only had about four minutes worth of advertisements and ended up ending the show about eight minutes early because they had no ads.

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Tuesday night's broadcast appeared to contain at least 10 national commercials from smaller sponsors and direct-response advertisers, including Rosland Capital, TheraBreath, the Gotham Steel Crisper Tray and Gravely mowers.

"I believe Bill O'Reilly is a sexual harasser", he said.

The program is one of the network's top-rated shows and a consistent top-performer among other cable news programs.

But O'Reilly has not been abandoned by his audience. Walsh, a former guest on O'Reilly's show, said she dined with the host at a Los Angeles hotel four years ago and saw the meeting as a virtual job interview.

And there are still reverberations from Ailes' time there: For instance, some of the settlements have drawn the scrutiny of federal prosecutors, who are now investigating whether they "were structured to avoid disclosing them to investors in 21st Century Fox", David notes. Fox News is an integral part of the overall company and generates a significant chunk of the parent's operating profit.

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