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While advertisers flee ‘The O’Reilly Factor,’ John Oliver wants to buy airtime — to educate Trump on sexual harassment

"Last Week Tonight" host John Oliver's "Catheter Cowboy" returns from time to time for not-so-subtle messaging directed at President Trump. (Video: Nicki DeMarco/The Washington Post)

Dozens of companies have pulled ads from “The O’Reilly Factor” in the wake of news that the host has been the subject of a series of sexual harassment allegations over the past 15 years. But in light of the recent controversy, one party is actually offering to buy airtime on Bill O’Reilly’s show: John Oliver.

On Sunday night’s edition of “Last Week Tonight,” Oliver spoke of the advertisers fleeing “The O’Reilly Factor” after the New York Times revealed that five women have received $13 million from either Mr. O’Reilly or the network as settlements for sexual harassment complaints.

The British satirist also quoted President Trump’s response to the allegations: “I don’t think Bill did anything wrong.”

“To recap this story for you,” Oliver said. “Bill O’Reilly needs advertisers and Donald Trump needs to understand sexual harassment. And here, is where we come in.”

Once again, Oliver announced, his show will be deploying the now widely recognized “Catheter Cowboy” to teach Donald Trump a lesson. “Last Week Tonight” produced an ad to air during “The O’Reilly Factor” in New York and D.C. using a spoof of Medical Direct Club’s “Catheter Cowboy” commercials to discuss the issue of workplace sexual harassment.

“We submitted it to stations on Friday, but weirdly we haven’t heard back from them since,” Oliver said, “which is a little surprising, because we are one of the only advertisers offering to buy time on his show at the moment.”

Oliver has already made a habit of buying advertising on “Fox & Friends” using the “Catheter Cowboy” spoof to make a direct appeal to the president and break down subjects such as the nuclear triad and the Republican health-care proposal.

John Oliver wants to directly appeal to Trump on health care. So he’s buying airtime on Fox News.

The ads are an attempt to “try and sneak some useful facts into his media diet,” Oliver previously said, appealing to shows Trump is known to watch regularly.

In the latest version, the Catheter Cowboy begins the ad just like all the others — with a man donning a cowboy hat and standing in a library.

“Howdy, I’m a professional cowboy. I use catheters and there’s two things I know,” the man says, “I don’t like pain when I cath and repeated unwanted sexual advances or obscene remarks in the workplace constitutes sexual harassment.”

The cowboy continues: “If there’s a power disparity between the two parties, well, that’s about as inappropriate as lubricating a catheter with hot sauce, partner. Why would you do that? I do not like pain when I cath.”

“And if you’ve got a friend who was accused of something like that over and over again, I might think twice about defending him, because that just contributes to a culture where women don’t want to come forward,” the character says as he stands next to a copy of O’Reilly’s book “Culture Warrior.” “And I know you might not care about that but on some level you’ve gotta know, you’re blowing this.”

The ad closes with: “That’s all for now. Goodbye everyone watching this and definitely not one specific person.”

That “specific person,” supposedly Trump, gave an interview with the New York Times Wednesday saying he thought O’Reilly was a “good person” who should have avoided settling the harassment claims and “taken it all the way.”

Angie’s List rejects O’Reilly boycott: Trusts members to ‘make their own’ decisions

“Nobody gets to be surprised” by Trump’s defense of O’Reilly, Oliver said, perhaps making a reference to allegations against Trump that emerged during the campaign. Video footage of Trump talking with Billy Bush, then of “Access Hollywood,” captured Trump bragging in vulgar terms about kissing, groping and trying to have sex with women, The Washington Post’s David Fahrenthold reported. Trump apologized for the damaging video and called the remarks “locker room talk.”

On Sunday, 21st Century Fox, Fox News’ parent company, said it will open an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment made against O’Reilly, attorney Lisa Bloom told CNN’s “Reliable Sources” on Sunday. The company has enlisted the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison to investigate at least one of the accusations, Reuters reported.

"The O'Reilly Factor" is losing advertisers after it was revealed five women have collectively received $13 million in settlements after accusing Bill O'Reilly of sexual harassment or inappropriate conduct. (Video: Erin Patrick O'Connor/The Washington Post)

The investigation came after Wendy Walsh, a former guest on O’Reilly’s show, called Fox’s workplace misconduct hotline to lodge an official complaint against the host Wednesday.

The women who made allegations against O’Reilly either worked for him or appeared on his show and have complained about behavior such as verbal abuse, lewd comments, unwanted advances and phone calls in which it sounded as if O’Reilly was masturbating, the New York Times reported.

O’Reilly has said that he settled the lawsuit to “spare his children the pain of messy public ordeals” and that he was targeted because he is famous.