Mercedes-Benz has “reassigned” advertisements set to air during The O’Reilly Factor after reports that the show’s host, Bill O’Reilly, was accused of sexual harassment.
A New York Times report published Saturday found that Fox News parent company 21st Century Fox and the host himself paid a total of $13 million to five women since 2002. The money was paid “in exchange for agreeing to not pursue litigation or speak about their accusations against him.” O’Reilly has said the accusations lack merit, but he has not denied the payments.
“Yes, 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, the manager of corporate communications at Mercedes-Benz, said in a statement to CNN Money. “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.”
And he had the nerve to talk about Maxine Waters’ wig? Meanwhile he’s up here sexually harassing people? Bye, Bill.
Former Fox News regular, Dr. Wendy Walsh, gave a detailed account of Bill O’Reilly’s unwanted sexual advances in a press conference on Monday after the NYT’s report surfaced over the weekend.
Walsh’s lawyer Lisa Bloom said it fit a “pattern” of sexual harassment at O’Reilly’s Manhattan-based network and called on the New York State Division of Human Rights and the New York City Human Rights Commission to investigate.
Walsh said she was “terrified” to step forward with her claims but wanted to set a good example for her two daughters, including one who was recently accepted at Harvard.
She said O’Reilly invited her to the dinner at the Hotel Bel-Air after she became a regular commentator on “The O’Reilly Factor” in early 2013.
As they ate, O’Reilly raved about the “great job” she was doing on his weekly segment “Are We Crazy?” and said he wanted to make her a paid contributor, she recalled.
“I was delighted,” she said of the dinner offer.
After the meal ended, O’Reilly said, “Let’s get out of here,” and they both got up and walked out, she said.
She assumed the plan was to head to the bar area so they could continue their conversation. Outside the restaurant exit, the bar was to the left while the hotel’s bedrooms were to the right, she explained.
“A funny thing happened. The two of us walked past the hostess stand, and he walked to the right, and I walked to the left. And we got like 10 feet away from each other, walking away from each other. And then both of us turned around like, ‘Where’d he go? Where’d she go?'” she said.
“And so he caught up with me and said, ‘No, no, come back to my suite,'” she recalled.
“I’m sorry, I can’t do that,” she told him, according to Walsh.
“He immediately got defensive,” she said. “He got very hostile, very quickly. He told me flat out, ‘Forget any career advice I gave you.'”
She said he then complained about the cost of a soda water she ordered and called her handbag the ugliest one he’d ever seen.
“I’m a psychologist. I over-analyze. I’m like, ‘Was he calling me an ugly bag at that point?’ I don’t know,” she said Monday.
Walsh said her career with O’Reilly’s show stalled after that. She was never made a paid contributor.
She never complained to human resources because she wasn’t an employee, she said. It wasn’t until a New York Times reporter called her out of the blue last year that she considered speaking up, she said.
“I’ve been terrified, from the beginning. That’s why I didn’t want to go forward,” she said, two days after The Times reported that five women have received $13 million in payments from O’Reilly to stay quiet about alleged sexual harassment or other inappropriate behavior.
Walsh said the women “had to take that money” because they were facing “economic ruin,” and she decided to “be the voice for them.”
“My truth is not for sale,” she said.
Bloom, meanwhile, said she wasn’t buying the claim from O’Reilly’s camp that Walsh was dropped from his show because his ratings went down whenever she appeared.
“What a ridiculous claim,” Bloom said. “It was a segment with Wendy, another psychologist (and) Mr. O’Reilly. The segment was produced by Mr. O’Reilly’s team. The topic was chosen by Mr. O’Reilly’s team. And yet, Wendy is supposed to be responsible for any dip in ratings? It just doesn’t make any sense. You mean to tell me as soon as she opened her mouth on that segment, people jumped up and turned off their television sets? It’s an absurd claim, and I would like to see any proof that they have, which they have not provided.”
Bloom said an internal probe of Fox News’ culture carried out by a private law firm in the wake of former CEO Roger Ailes’ sexual harassments scandals and exit was not enough.
She called for “comprehensive” and “independent” investigations by the New York State Division of Human Rights and the New York City Human Rights Commission.
She said the taxpayer-funded agencies usually come into play when someone files a complaint, but she believes laws exist that would enable them to initiate reviews on their own.
“I think those laws were written for just a time such as this, where everybody knows what’s going on and nobody’s actually doing anything about it. And over and over again, women’s rights are being violated,” she said.
Attempts to reach the agencies and a lawyer for O’Reilly were not immediately successful Monday.
What’s done in the dark will ALWAYS come to light.