BMW pulls advertising from Fox News’ ‘O’Reilly Factor’

BMW pulls Fox News advertisements
FILE PHOTO - Fox News Channel host Bill O'Reilly poses on the set of his show "The O'Reilly Factor" in New York March 17, 2015. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

(Reuters) – BMW of North America has suspended its advertising on Fox News’ “The O’Reilly Factor” program after the New York Times reported Fox and star host Bill O’Reilly paid five women to settle claims he sexually harassed them, a BMW spokesman said on Tuesday.

“In light of the recent New York Times investigation, BMW of North America has suspended its advertising with “The O’Reilly Factor,” the BMW spokesman said in an emailed statement.

A Fox News spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The New York Times reported over the weekend that Fox and O’Reilly have paid out $13 million dollars to five women who had accused him of harassment. O’Reilly, in a statement posted on his website on Saturday, said he had been unfairly targeted because of his prominence.

The German automaker becomes the third advertiser to suspend its commercials on the program, joining Mercedez-Benz. Hyundai Motor Corp told the New York Times they are reallocating future advertising on “The O’Reilly Factor.”

BMW wasn’t among the top 50 advertisers on “The O’Reilly Factor,” but Mercedes-Benz and Hyundai were regular spenders.

According to ad-tracking firm iSpot.tv, Mercedes-Benz has bought an estimated $266,477 worth of commercials on the show over the past 30 days, the tenth most, and spent $1.3 million in 2016. Hyundai, meanwhile, purchased $102,902 worth of commercials over the last 30 days, and $913,445 in 2016.

“The O’Reilly Factor” is Fox News’ most watched program and is coming off its best first quarter in its history, averaging 4 million viewers, according to Nielsen.

Fox News is a unit of Twenty-First Century Fox Inc.

(Reporting by Tim Baysinger; Editing by Marguerita Choy and Jeffrey Benkoe)