Fox News host Bill O'Reilly. (Wikipedia)

The no clue zone: 11 times Bill O'Reilly should've been fired, but wasn't

O'Reilly is out, but his legacy will live on through the internet forever


Rachel Leah
April 20, 2017 9:53PM (UTC)

After two decades as a top anchor for Fox News, Bill O'Reilly was officially pushed out Wednesday night. This wasn't the result of years of promoting racist, sexist, anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim and inaccurate reporting on "The Factor." But his ousting came after more than 50 advertisers withdrew from his show when it became public that Fox News paid $13 million in settlements for sexual harassment cases levied against O'Reilly.

An internal memo, signed by the three Murdoch's and sent to staff members Wednesday, read, "By ratings standards, Bill O'Reilly is one of the most accomplished TV personalities in the history of cable news. In fact, his success by any measure is indisputable."

Advertisement:

But O'Reilly's legacy is one where white supremacy was the norm and women, low-income, black and brown, LGBT, immigrant, non-Christian, and Muslim communities were too often on the other end of his hatred.

Here are some of his worst offenses.

1. In 2005, with Fox legal analyst Lis Wiehl, he asked: "Can you dance? Don't you think it might be worth learning how?. . . You're a good-looking girl — I'm telling you that. If you haven't seen Lis on TV, she's a good-looking blonde . . . $10,000 for doing a little dance? No? Wouldn't do it?"

2. Despite being someone who settled cases of sexual harassment himself, O'Reilly had a habit of blaming the victims of sexual assault. In 2006, he described a story of an 18-year-old woman who was brutally raped and murdered, but that this tragedy occurred because, "she was wearing a mini-skirt and a halter top with a bare midriff. Now again, there you go. So every predator in the world is going to pick that up."

Advertisement:

3. In 2005, when Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and the government was criminally slow to help citizens, overwhelming black and low-income, O'Reilly said: "Our government has a duty to provide a safety net so these people aren't living under bridges, but some of them are anyway because all he entitlement money they get, they spend on heroin, or crack, or alcohol . . . many, many, many of the poor in New Orleans are in that condition . . . they were drug-addicted . . . thugs . . . I would take the children away from these people."

4. O'Reilly's racial bias has been demonstrated in a myriad of clips. He said the enslaved people who built the White House were "well-fed," he called black people "ill-educated and have tattoos on their foreheads," most recently, he silenced Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., saying, "I didn't hear a word she said. I was looking at the James Brown wig." In 2014, he essentially told activist Martin Luther King III that former President Barack Obama's message to the black community should be: "Don't abandon your children, don't get pregnant at 14, don't allow your neighborhoods to deteriorate into free fire zones. That's what the African-American community should have on their t-shirts."

Advertisement:

5. In 2015, and in response to an NBC contributor suggesting fines for news outlets who "mis-genderize" people, O'Reilly countered her claims by mocking Caitlyn Jenner: "But from the waist down he is a he." One of his guests agreed, which prompted O'Reilly to respond with: "I try to be accurate here on The Factor."

He doesn't.

6. In February, O'Reilly hosted Nils Bildt on The Factor, and presented him as “a Swedish defense and national security advisor.” Swedish officials clarified that he is “definitely not a spokesman for the Armed Forces.”

Advertisement:

7. Then there was the time in 2017 when O'Reilly said of homeless people in San Francisco: "homeless people are all over the place, urinating and defecating in the streets, panhandling, and when they need money to buy booze or drugs, committing crimes! The situation is out of control and a disgrace." He's repeatedly admonished low-income people, including the call for mandatory drug tests for people who receive welfare.

8. O'Reilly's rhetoric about Muslims has been pervasive. He's called the refugee crisis in Europe "a dramatic Muslim invasion," he's advocated for profiling of all Muslim people over the age of 16, and in 2016, after Obama's State of the Union address, he put forth his own "State of the Union message," saying, "The fact is that most of the terror violence in the world comes out of Muslim precincts."

Advertisement:

9. "Open borders don't work," O'Reilly said in 2016 during a Talking Points segment on his show. He continued to say that an "illegal immigration apartheid was on display."

10. He badgered David Silverman, president of American Atheists, and delivered one of the most nonsensical . "Tide goes in, tide goes out. Never a miscommunication. You can't explain that," O'Reilly said to Silverman. "It always comes in, it always goes out . . . you can't explain that."

I'm honestly not sure where he was going with this one.

11. And in 2016, O'Reilly suggested that  women got abortions because they had migraines.

Advertisement:

 


Rachel Leah

Rachel Leah is a culture writer for Salon. You can follow her on Twitter: @rachelkleah.

MORE FROM Rachel Leah

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Bill O’reilly Fox News Sexual Harassment




BROWSE SALON.COM
COMPLETELY AD FREE,
FOR THE NEXT HOUR

Read Now, Pay Later - no upfront
registration for 1-Hour Access

Click Here
7-Day Access and Monthly
Subscriptions also available
No tracking or personal data collection
beyond name and email address

•••


Fearless journalism
in your inbox every day

Sign up for our free newsletter

• • •