It's hard to give the complete list of companies pulling their ads right now from Bill O'Reilly's show on Fox News Channel, because the number keeps growing.
Chances are that in the time it took me to write the previous sentence, another corporate sponsor decided to suspend advertising. Just on O'Reilly's show, understand. They're still airing ads on Fox News Channel, whose chairman was fired last summer for a sexual harassment scandal.
Yeah. I know.
Last weekend, The New York Times reported that five women were paid a total of $13 million by either O'Reilly or Fox News and its parent company, 21st Century Fox, related to five separate accusations of sexual harassment and verbal abuse against O'Reilly.
Whell. This wasn't supposed to get out.
From the network: "21st Century Fox takes matters of workplace behavior very seriously. Notwithstanding the fact that no current or former Fox News employee ever took advantage of the 21st Century Fox hotline to raise a concern about Bill O'Reilly, even anonymously—"
Do you see what they did there?
Translation: If this had really happened, these women would have trusted the network that employs and promotes Bill O'Reilly as its superstar to take up their cause against said superstar.
From The New York Times: "Current and former Fox News employees told The Times that they feared making complaints to network executives or the human resources department."
Back to the show.
The statement continues: "While he denies the merits of these claims, Mr. O'Reilly has resolved those he regarded as his personal responsibility."
You may be wondering, "If they didn't happen, why did O'Reilly feel a personal responsibility to resolve them?"
Oh, you and your questions. If I were O'Reilly, I'd be cutting off your mic right now.
The reporting of these settlements has triggered a collective corporate conscience that, until now, we had no reason to believe existed.
CNN's Tom Kludt is collecting corporate sponsor responses.
Hyundai: "Hyundai currently has no advertising on The O'Reilly Factor. We had upcoming advertising spots on the show but are reallocating them due to the recent and disturbing allegations."
Reallocating — such an interesting word. As is redirecting, which is also popping up in the coverage of these movable ads. My personal favorite is re-expressing, which sounds like a new method for breast-feeding.
See? the network spokesman says. We're not losing ad money. We're merely shuffling the ads from the most popular show on Fox News Channel to "other FNC programs."
In other words — and aren't you glad I'm here to explain all this? — while these companies claim to be offended by the O'Reilly allegations, they're still cool with the network that continues to enable him.
For example: "Mitsubishi Motors takes these allegations very seriously and we have decided that we will pull our advertising at the present time. We will continue to monitor this situation as we assess our long-term strategy."
Imagine the possible conversation in that next meeting: "So, long term. Are we sometimes OK with sexual harassment? Or are we, like, totally against it now?"
Bayer included a list of side effects of its decision to suspend advertising, best read aloud by that fast-talking man in the drug ads:
"We have been informed, however, that programming changes may not become effective immediately. It is important to note that Bayer purchases packages of advertising time across all major networks without selecting placement on any specific program. We regularly evaluate our advertising purchases to make sound judgments."
Angie's List isn't pulling anything, including the wool over our eyes:
"Just as we trust members to make their own hiring decisions, we trust them to make their own media consumption decisions."
Aw, they trust us. As if it's our integrity and character in question.
On Wednesday, Donald Trump weighed in.
Of course he did. It's not as if he has a country to lead.
"I think he's a person I know well," Trump told The New York Times' Glenn Thrush.
Does he "think" he knows him but doubt it because he just sees him on his TV every night — never mind.
"He is a good person," Trump continued. "I think he shouldn't have settled; personally, I think he shouldn't have settled." (I think he thinks O'Reilly shouldn't have settled.) "Because you should have taken it all the way. I don't think Bill did anything wrong."
Trump also said: "I'm automatically attracted to beautiful (women). I just start kissing them. It's like a magnet. Just kiss. I don't even wait. And when you're a star, they let you do it. You can do anything — grab them by the p——. You can do anything."
Connie Schultz is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and professional in residence at Kent State University's school of journalism. She is the author of two books, including "...and His Lovely Wife," which chronicled the successful race of her husband, Sherrod Brown, for the U.S. Senate. To find out more about Connie Schultz ([email protected]) and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.