O'Reilly falsely claimed Best Buy employee confirmed ban on "Merry Christmas"

››› ››› BEN ARMBRUSTER

On the December 19 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly continued to assert that "Best Buy orders its employees not to say 'Merry Christmas.' " O'Reilly said that he got this information from "Best Buy employees," falsely claiming that he "had one on the radio today." As Media Matters for America recently noted, a Best Buy spokesperson denied that the company forbids employees to say "Merry Christmas" to customers. A caller on the December 19 broadcast of O'Reilly's nationally syndicated radio show, who claimed that employees at Best Buy "are not allowed to say Merry Christmas" and "could get fired" for doing so, identified herself as a Best Buy customer, not an employee.

On The Radio Factor, O'Reilly also said: "I just don't want some store chain telling their employees they can't say Merry Christmas," adding: "That kind of fascism doesn't play with me." He also reiterated his baseless claim that Best Buy forbids its employees to say Merry Christmas: "[I]f you tell your employee you can't say it [Merry Christmas] as Best Buy did, then I'm going to expose Best Buy and I'm going to tell you who they are. Oh, they hate that. Ooh, do they hate that."

O'Reilly then spoke to the aforementioned caller, who claimed that when shopping at Best Buy, the store manager told her that Best Buy employees "are not allowed to say Merry Christmas" and that another employee said to her: "I could get fired for this, but you are two nice ladies: Merry Christmas." No Best Buy employee appeared on the December 19 edition of The Radio Factor.

From the December 19 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:

O'REILLY: Now for the top story tonight. Another look at this from the atheistic point of view. Joining us now from Washington, Laurie Lipman Brown, director of the Secular Coalition for America. You know, I tried to join up. You haven't -- did you get my application yet, Ms. Brown?

BROWN: We don't have members, just supporters. You can sign up for our e-alerts on secular.org.

O'REILLY: OK, excellent. All right. Now, am I overdoing this? Am I misstating anything?

BROWN: I think you're focusing on the secular aspects of Christmas, which I find somewhat ironic that you're looking at retail stores and these secular aspects, rather than the sacred aspects that most Christians I know focus on.

O'REILLY: Well, how do you know I'm not focused on the sacred aspects? How do you know what I do? I'm just focused on -- and the only reason retail stores came into play was because they ordered -- Best Buy orders its employees not to say "Merry Christmas," according to Best Buy employees. We had one on the radio today.

From the December 19 edition of Westwood One's The Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly:

O'REILLY: Here's the litmus test, [caller]. "Have a good Christmas" is fine. That's just like "Merry Christmas." It's just, you know, you don't say the same thing. But here's always the litmus test if you want -- and you go in -- and I did this the other day -- I walked in and -- to get a gift certificate. And I said to the lady, "I need a gift certificate for Christmas." All right. So she knew right away where I was coming from. Now, I expected her, after she gave me the gift certificate, to say, "Merry Christmas." She said, "Happy Holidays." Now, that, to me, was obnoxious. I said, "Merry Christmas," and then I left.

Now, did I make a big deal out of it? No. And I don't care. But I -- it's the little experiment thing. So when you buy something, you look the person in the eye and you say, "Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays." I -- you know, say both in case they're Muslim or Jewish or whatever. Even though that shouldn't matter, I think that's what you do, and then you see what they say back.

But anyway, it's always an interesting experiment. And I don't really care. To me, I just don't want some store chain telling their employees they can't say "Merry Christmas." See, that's why I got involved. That kind of fascism doesn't play with me. All right. And that's been distorted by these far-left columnists who say I'm trying to run around make everybody say "Merry Christmas." I'm not. I don't care. But if you tell your employee you can't say it, as Best Buy did, then I'm going to expose Best Buy. And I'm going to tell you who they are. Oh, they hate that. Ooh, do they hate that.

E.D. HILL (co-host): Are they still doing that?

O'REILLY: Yes. Best Buy is to the end, to the end.

HILL: OK. They'll probably see a difference --

O'REILLY: I'm going to look at their earnings, I'm going to look at their earnings, yep. And we have [caller] in Houston's going to back me up. Right, [caller]?

CALLER: I sure am, Bill. And I should've listened to you before. But like a nitwit, I went into a Best Buy with my daughter. We were buying underprivileged children gifts, and we spent $3,000. I'm not kidding. And they ended up being liars, number one. But second of all, we were told by the manager of the store, they are not allowed to say "Merry Christmas." Corporate says no. And he said, "I myself" -- and his name is John in Houston -- said, "I bought a Christmas tree, and they will not let me put it up. We can't play Christmas music, we can't say Merry Christmas." And at the end, after all this -- because it took us eight hours to get them out of their lie, but regardless -- one of the ladies said to us, "I could get fired for this, but you are two nice ladies: Merry Christmas."

O'REILLY: OK. Well, I'm glad you called, [caller]. Now everybody can make up their mind about Best Buy. Because I -- you know, what [the caller] is telling you is what I told you a month ago. And there it is.

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