‘O’Reilly Factor’ Advertisers Blindsided By Inclusion on Show Amid Sexual Harassment Scandal (Exclusive)

“We addressed this issue immediately… and are suspending advertising on Fox News”

Bill O'Reilly sexual harassment scandal sponsors mypillow crowne plaza timeline recap

Two advertisers on Wednesday’s “The O’Reilly Factor” were blindsided and upset to learn they were advertisers on Wednesday’s “The O’Reilly Factor.”

Representatives for Crowne Plaza hotels and MyPillow told TheWrap they were pulling their ads “effective immediately” after Fox News aired them on Bill O’Reilly’s show, despite explicit instructions not to.

“The O’Reilly Factor,” which has dominated cable news for 16 consecutive years, lost more than 50 advertisers after the New York Times reported on Saturday that O’Reilly and Fox News paid out $13 million to women who accused the TV host of sexual harassment or misconduct.

With time to fill, the network aired many local ads on Wednesday night’s show — as well as ads for Crowne Plaza and MyPillow.

“We have a very explicit do not advertise list, which includes The O’Reilly Factor,” a Crowne Plaza spokesman told TheWrap in a statement on Thursday. “Unfortunately, there was a breakdown between the media buying agency and Fox News that led to this inadvertent airing. Since we learned of this, we addressed this issue immediately with the agency and are suspending advertising on Fox News until we understand how this occurred and can be assured this will not happen again.”

The spokesman declined to comment on whether or not Fox News may have used the company’s ad to pad the show’s commercial breaks after dozens of its advertisers jumped ship.

But if the airing was an oversight by Fox News, it wasn’t the only one.

“I have pulled our ads, effective immediately, from the prime time airing of ‘The O’Reilly Factor,’” said Mike Lindell, inventor and CEO of MyPillow, whose product was also advertised on Wednesday night’s show. “MyPillow does not condone sexual harassment or any of the allegations against Bill O’Reilly.”

A rep for the company told us: “MyPillow did not know its ad was going to run during last night’s ‘The O’Reilly Factor. It does not buy ad time in Bill O’Reilly’s show.”

Fox News did not respond to TheWrap’s requests for comment. But advertising experts say it’s unusual for a network to air a commercial on a program the advertiser specifically asked not to be in.

“It was irresponsible for Fox not to notify these brands and get approval from them before placing their ads on a show that’s in the middle of such a big controversy,” Chad Kawalec, founder of the Los Angeles-based Brand Identity Center, told TheWrap. “I would tell my clients to pull all of their ads from Fox News and publicly declare it.”

According to Kawalec, who’s worked on major advertising accounts including Procter & Gamble, Burger King and Campbell’s Soup, companies are very particular about which shows they wish to be advertised on and, more importantly, those they do not.

“If a network places them on a show they don’t want to be on without their permission it can create a backlash for their brand,” he said. “For instance, these brands now have to respond to reporters like you, who are now asking them about something they didn’t want to do in the first place.”