With Fox News stalwart Bill O’Reilly now on vacation — and with speculation intensifying that he may not return — a new report suggests that the strong negative reaction by advertisers to his sexual harassment scandal has been partly orchestrated by the Twitter account Sleeping Giants.
“As of this writing, 82 advertisers have publicly withdrawn from his show, representing an estimated $37-42 million loss, says Angelo Carusone, president of the progressive nonprofit Media Matters,” Mother Jones reports. “Bill O’Reilly’s trouble with advertisers is in part due to a campaign jointly run by Carusone, Think Progress’ Editor in Chief Judd Legum, and the anonymous Twitter account Sleeping Giants, which gained a huge following shortly after Trump’s election by launching a campaign to dissuade companies from advertising on Breitbart News.”
The report quotes a spokesperson for Sleeping Giants saying: “We had so much success at that point getting advertisers to come down from Breitbart that when the Bill O’Reilly article came out, there was definitely a huge amount of support. This is an anti-bigotry campaign. There are advertisers involved. So it made a lot of sense to us as far as the mission was concerned.”
Mother Jones reports: “Legum and Carusone, who had orchestrated a similar campaign to oust Glenn Beck from Fox News in 2009, quickly reached out to help.
Adds the Sleeping Giants spokesperson: “We’ve got Judd and Angelo reaching out personally [to advertisers], and we’ve been hitting them on Twitter, which is a much more public forum. We’re kind of letting them know from every angle.”
The Mother Jones report notes: “Carusone appeared on MSNBC on Monday to give an update on the O’Reilly boycott, where he said his estimates suggest the campaign has driven away enough advertisers to cripple the show, even if the host returns to his post.”