Tell advertisers to ditch Bill O’Reilly

Fox News host Bill O’Reilly once told a harrowing story in which he was attacked during the L.A. riots. According to O’Reilly, he and his colleagues were viciously showered with bricks and other hard objects — “concrete was raining down on us” — by an angry, lawless mob of protestors.

It is quite a story. Too bad this story — like so many other tales weaved by O’Reilly over the course of his long, checkered career — is completely fake. [1] It never happened. And it’s just one of many O’Reilly tall tales debunked in recent weeks; tales designed to promote an agenda of hate.

It’s time to pull the plug on O’Reilly. Tell advertisers: if you support hatemongering, we don’t support you.

Bill O’Reilly has a long history of attacking Black communities with misleading rhetoric and outright lies in order to advance an outlandish, right-wing agenda and smear fair policies. And it’s dangerous, shaping perceptions of Black people in the minds of viewers, and thus endangering Black people in neighborhoods, courtrooms, and classrooms across the country. Any advertiser who continues to stand behind a man committed to spinning harmful lies at the expense of our communities is sending a clear message: they don’t value you or your business.

Join us in demanding corporations advertising during Fox News’ “The O’Reilly Factor” ditch Bill O’Reilly once and for all.

O’Reilly’s outright lies regarding his experience during the L.A. riots aren’t just pathetic; they’re also genuinely harmful. His story misleadingly acts as a testimonial to the alleged “senselessness” of protests that were grounded in the epidemic of police violence against Black communities that plagues our nation to this day. It is a narrative he has continued to push to undermine the #BlackLivesMatter movement, even displaying inaccurate infographics and data to argue that racism in policing isn’t a problem at all. [2] Once again, facts and data are fudged, taken out of context, or ignored altogether in the pursuit of O’Reilly’s harmful, self-serving agenda.

This kind of irresponsible behavior and rhetoric puts our communities in real danger. Demand advertisers drop O’Reilly immediately.

Bill O’Reilly has built his career by lacing ugly, race-baiting commentary with stereotypes in order to sour his viewers on policies and ideals designed to improve communities. During a July 2014 segment of his FOX News program, O’Reilly claimed that “in certain ghetto neighborhoods it’s part of the culture” for 9-year old Black children to smoke marijuana. [3] The following night he went on to explain away the role of racial profiling in drug arrests, suggesting that Black neighborhoods are essentially filled with criminals deserving of harassment from police. [4] Research shows that disproportionately high drug-related arrests in Black communities are not correlated to rates of drug use along racial lines [5] — but as we know, Bill never lets a little thing like the truth get in the way of a good story.

The problem is that these fairytales are being perpetuated to justify abusive treatment by police to squelch dissident voices. Research also shows there are other real life consequences for Black people when these outlandish stereotypes rule the day including diminished economic opportunities, less attention from doctors, and harsher sentences from judges, just to name a few. [6]

With such a large following and platform, O’Reilly must be held accountable for the dissemination of these harmful mistruths about Black communities. We can no longer let his advertisers silently stand by while O’Reilly makes such dangerous and dehumanizing remarks again and again.

Stand with us in demanding advertisers turn their backs on “The O’Reilly Factor.”

Thanks and Peace,
—Rashad, Arisha, Matt, Brandi, Dallas and the rest of the ColorOfChange team.

March 3, 2015

References

1. “Bill O’Reilly’s LA riots ‘bombardment’ stories disputed by former colleagues,” Guardian 02–26–15
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/4639?t=10&akid=4178.616814.f-kY-z

2. Debunking Bill O’Reilly’s argument about racism in American policing,” Daily Dot 12–04–14
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/4640?t=13&akid=4178.616814.f-kY-z

3. “O’Reilly: ‘In Certain Ghetto Neighborhoods It’s Part of the Culture’ for Children to Smoke Marijuana,” Media Matters 07–28–14
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/3716?t=16&akid=4178.616814.f-kY-z

4. “O’Reilly on Racial Profiling of Drug Offenders: It’s Not About ‘Let’s Hunt Down the Black People Today,’” Media Matters 07–29–14
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/4641?t=19&akid=4178.616814.f-kY-z

5. “The black/white marijuana arrest gap, in 9 charts,” Washington Post 06–04–13
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/4642?t=22&akid=4178.616814.f-kY-z

6. “Media Representations and Impact on the Lives of Black Men and Boys,” Opportunity Agenda
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/3685?t=25&akid=4178.616814.f-kY-z

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Last edited by Tyler Schuster.   Page last modified on March 03, 2015

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