O'Reilly on the radio: "I know some of you will be stunned, but there are people who love me"October 15, 2004 12:25 PM EDT ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF
FOX News Channel host and radio host Bill O'Reilly remarked about lawsuits filed in connection with an allegation of sexual harassment against him on the October 14 edition of The Radio Factor:
O'REILLY: We're also on a scandal watch here because of me; I'm a scandal guy now. We're going to play you a clip of me on Regis and Kelly this morning talking about the scandal of my life. It is the worst day of my life, and to make it better, I have persuaded E.D. Hill to join us.
E.D. HILL (co-host): Well, I'm glad to --
O'REILLY: You know, one of these things on this scandal watch that I gotta deal with is, you know, these people, you know we filed a lawsuit yesterday, an extortion, as probably everybody knows now. Well, as soon as they got served, they went out and did exactly what they threatened to do, smear me. You know, throw anything up against the wall. You know the papers are going to print it --
HILL: Oh, sure. They're just dyin' for some scandal.
O'REILLY: -- and just try to destroy him, put him on the defensive so he's got so many charges to answer he couldn't possibly answer 'em.
HILL: You handled it well. You came out swinging.
O'REILLY: Well, it's the same thing in the debate. You have to anticipate exactly what they're gonna do and preempt it. Now our preemption was, somebody walks into the FOX News Channel and says, "I want 60 million dollars, or I'm going to punish you and O'Reilly." And you look at 'em and go, well, is somebody dead? You know, is there somebody killed? Uh, is there, you know, a house burnt down, children hurt?
No. And then there's nothing else that's defined. I still don't know what they're talking about, to tell you the truth. I haven't been served with anything. And then you say, well, wait a minute; this is just purely designed to hurt you. And you have to take action.
So what we did was we did -- we took legal action to make these people accountable for what they're doing. But, that's what Bush should have done. He should have said, Bush advisers should have, look, you can say the war in Iraq is worthy, and you're gonna win it. You have to do that. Okay, you're the commander; you can't send mixed signals to your troops. But you have to acknowledge that it hadn't gone the way we all planned it. And if you do that you can get off the defensive and say, "We're gonna win it. We have a strategy to win it, and my opponent has nothing but criticism."
See, nothing but criticism gets us nowhere, nowhere. And that's the mistake that Bush made in the first debate, and subsequently didn't do that. So Bush spent far too much time on the defensive, whereas you look at Kerry's record, you can put him on the defensive all day long -- all day long. So that, of the three, was the big mistake the Bush administration made, is they didn't allow the president to admit there had been screw-ups in Iraq.
Now, I gotta do this now, I want to get it out of the way, and you know, as I told you, it's the worst day of my life. I'm getting through it, though. But I wish I was like Rip Van Winkle, you know, you can just like go to sleep, and then wake up, maybe a year from now, and uh, this'll be all gone.
So we had to file a lawsuit, as you know, against these people. And I knew as soon as we did that they would say vile things about me, and which they have. And I knew the vile things would be printed by the newspapers, which they were. Each paper spinning in its own way; probably the Los Angeles Times the worst. But I, you know, I give them jazz, they're gon -- course they're gonna do this. I mean, I live in the real world.
So I'm on the book tour for Bill O'Reilly, The Factor For Kids, The O'Reilly Factor For Kids book, just doing very, very well. And we really appreciate it. So I'm gonna honor my obligations. You know, I'm gonna go and I'm chat with these people because, you know, they invited me and I'm not to cancel and run away. That's just; I'm not the kind of guy that does that. So I went on Regis and Kelly this morning and uh, here's how it went down. Roll it.
REGIS PHILBIN (ABC's Live with Regis and Kelly co-host): "You're pretty much in the news today too. What's going on?
O'REILLY: I gotta say this is the worst day of my life, uh. Really, it is, it is. And I'm, I, only because I have respect for you two, I would come on and do this. But I had to make a decision, and I knew by filing this lawsuit, I was going to perhaps ruin my career.
And I knew I was -- the vile stuff was going to be in the papers, because the papers love that. You know how it goes? But all of us are targets, you know. You know that. We're all targets; every famous person in this country is a target, and for the last five years I've had threats, almost on a daily basis; we're gonna kill you, we're gonna get your family, we're, you know, I'm gonna sue you for this or that, every other thing, and a short time ago this came into FOX and they want 60 million dollars.
Now, just think about that. The 9-11 families didn't get anywhere near that. But 60 million dollars because O'Reilly did X, Y, and Z. And I'm lookin' at this and I'm going, "Enough, enough." Now, if I have to go down, I'm willing to do it. But I gotta make a stand.
I'm a big mouth on the air; I'm a big mouth on the air. I'm a big Irish guy, you know, the Regis knows what I am. But I am a person who will say, "Enough."
PHILBIN: Right. And so you said it?
O'REILLY: And I said it, and we've filed the lawsuit yesterday morning. And the lawyers said to me, they said, "This could be it for you." And I said, 'Okay. I'm willing to take it,' because I've got to send the message that this kind of stuff, I'm not gonna sit with it."
O'REILLY: Okay, so there you go. And that's pretty much it. Nothing more I can say at this juncture, and we're praying that things work out. Obviously, I feel terribly guilty because people around me get hurt, you know, I can handle this stuff. It's been coming my way in private for so long that I'm almost numb to it. And now of course it goes public.
But, you know, there are people around me that are, ah, hurt by it. And I know some of you will be stunned, but there are people who love me, and you know, they don't want to see me go through this, but I feel terrible because it's, you know, I am in the firestorm every day. But I put myself in the firestorm by being who I am, by talking my mind, and by going up against the establishment, and you know, when the establishment gets something they're going to come back hard at you.
So I think we all know what it is. I think everybody knows, and then you got to make your decision whether O'Reilly's the bad guy, or O'Reilly standing up for something that's worth standing up for here. Extortion is terrible; it's awful. I hope you never ever get exposed to it. But I'm just not the kind of guy that's gonna do it, you know, I'm not that kind of guy. You're going to come after me, okay. We'll see how it plays out. I think that's the fair way to do it.
And again, I'm sorry I have to burden you with this, but I figure you know about it, you've seen it all over the place, and I owe it to my listeners and viewers to explain as best I can without getting into detail because, you know, the lawyers have asked me not to do that, and of course I'm gonna respect their wishes. You know, this is in the hands of the justice system now, and we hope there is justice in the justice system.
Any questions there, Miss Hill?