Updated on April 5 at 2:44 p.m. ET
In a recurring segment on his show, The O’Reilly Factor, Bill O’Reilly likes to take on an “Unresolved Problem,” something he judges the media and national conversation at large to have glossed over without a close enough look. Now O’Reilly and his network are facing an unresolved problem of their own, in the wake of the publication of a New York Times investigation that found that he and his employers have paid out a total of $13 million to settle with five women who alleged O’Reilly had harassed them, sexually or otherwise. Making matters worse, a follow-up report turned up yet another claim against Roger Ailes, the former Fox News chairman who himself was ousted last summer amid a host of sexual harassment allegations.
As of Wednesday afternoon, 31 companies have said they won’t do business with The O’Reilly Factor, either by pulling ads slated to air during O’Reilly’s 8 o’clock show or by committing to stop running ads on the show in the future. Among those advertisers were GlaxoSmithKline, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Allstate, UNTUCKit, T. Rowe Price, Bayer, Esurance, Subaru, and Orkin.
The public firestorm is perhaps not surprising given some of the details in the Times report, which expands on what has been publicly reported about two cases that were already known and brings three others to light for the first time: In one case, a female Fox News employee said that while she was on the phone with O’Reilly, it sounded like he was masturbating, and in more than one instance the complaints allege that O’Reilly stopped his show from working with women who had rebuffed his sexual advances.