On the February 28 edition of his nationally syndicated radio show, Bill O'Reilly told co-host Lis Wiehl that “women were treated better than men” at ABC News and CBS News because "[t]hey had a little cabal; and they intimidated the men in the organization and said, 'If you look at me cross-eyed, I'm gonna bring you up to Human Resources and destroy your life.' " O'Reilly added that “every man in the place was terrified of them.” He later stated that, “in a lot of places, women have formed cabals to terrorize the men because they take advantage of, 'Oh, we're downtrodden. You're kicking us in the teeth.' ” He then discussed how, in every country he'd “ever been to, women are treated worse [than] in the United States. ... Guys are gonna put their hands on you in that society in Italy, in Spain.” O'Reilly concluded: “So, all of this whining about American women -- 'We don't have this; we don't have that' -- to me, I'm not real sympathetic. But I am a barbarian.” As Media Matters for America has noted, O'Reilly has a history of making derogatory remarks to Wiehl, such as asking her to protest outside CBS studios in a bikini. In 2004, he settled a sexual harassment lawsuit brought by his former producer, Andrea Mackris; and, Fox News Network also reportedly settled a sex discrimination lawsuit in 2006.
Additionally, O'Reilly argued that employers should not be required to cover female employees' birth control prescriptions even if the employer covers male employees' Viagra prescriptions because birth control pills are not used to treat “a medical condition.” O'Reilly contended: “There's still a distinction between a physical condition that doesn't allow you to perform. ... [T]here's a difference between a medical condition that debilitates a guy in this area and you and women having birth control. Buy your own. I don't wanna pay for your birth control. I'm sorry, I don't.” In response to Wiehl's objections, O'Reilly mocked: “Give me, take me, buy me, I want. I -- I want. I want.”
In fact, oral contraceptives, in addition for use in preventing pregnancy, are also used to treat numerous medical conditions, such as polycystic ovary syndrome, endometriosis, adenomyosis, irregular menstrual cycles, acne, and severe menstrual cramping, among other conditions.
As Media Matters noted, O'Reilly has also falsely claimed that it “is never the case” that a “mother's life is in danger” during the course of a pregnancy, when, in fact, there are several potential pregnancy complications that can threaten the life of a pregnant woman.
Later in the February 28 show, discussing workplace discrimination, a female caller said she was “angry with” O'Reilly because she said she had “no idea” that he was “so sexist and so discriminatory.” O'Reilly dismissed the caller's concerns as coming from “an angry woman.” When Wiehl offered to send the caller a copy of her new book, The 51% Minority: How Women Still Are Not Equal and What You Can do About it (Random House, February 2007), O'Reilly told Wiehl, “But you just make her more angry,” and joked that because of Wiehl's book, "[s]ome guy's gonna get popped." O'Reilly later suggested that women were mentally and physically unfit for combat: “If it were me, I wouldn't have any women in combat. That's how much of a barbarian I am. I wouldn't put any of them on the frontline for physical reasons, all right -- and for camaraderie and a lot of other different reasons: psychological, emotional, all kinds of stuff.”
In October 2004, O'Reilly settled a sexual harassment suit brought by Mackris. As The Washington Post reported, the lawsuit “charged that he spoke to Mackris about sexual fantasies, masturbation and vibrators while sometimes seeming to pleasure himself.” According to the Post, “O'Reilly and his attorney, Ronald Green, never denied that the Fox commentator had used such language, but said he never broke the law and questioned whether Mackris was truly offended or was taking words and phrases out of context.” The lawsuit was settled for an undisclosed amount of money.
In August 2006, Fox News Network reportedly settled a U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission [EEOC] sex discrimination suit. According to Bloomberg News, the lawsuit, which was brought by four female employees, alleged that “Fox News Vice President Joe Chillemi used obscene terms to describe women and their body parts.” Bloomberg also noted that the “EEOC complaint said Fox News failed to enforce the 1964 Civil Rights Act by retaliating against one of the four employees, Kim Weiler, who complained that women were assigned to freelance positions with fewer benefits, less advancement potential and lower job security than others.”
Further, as Media Matters has noted, O'Reilly has previously made degrading comments to Wiehl. For instance, on the November 3, 2005, broadcast of his radio show, O'Reilly called for “a full-body search” on Wiehl. On October 26, 2005, O'Reilly claimed that he was “outraged” about a recent CBS poll on border control and asked Wiehl to protest the network while wearing a bikini. When she resisted, he asked her: “Don't you love your country?” and “Don't you want fairness in the media?” In another instance on June 21, 2004, O'Reilly referred to Wiehl as “eye candy” and told her, “You're here because you're good-looking, so I got somebody to look over.”
From the February 28 edition of Westwood One's The Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly:
O'REILLY: I didn't whine about it and call up my senator and say, “Hey, I'm 10 times better than this one that's making more money than me,” bop, bop, bop. And the other thing is that, in a lot of the situations that I was in, particularly at the network news -- and I worked for ABC News and CBS News before I came to Fox News -- women were treated better than men. They were treated better than men.
They had a little cabal; and they intimidated the men in the organization and said, “If you look at me cross-eyed, I'm gonna bring you up to Human Resources and destroy your life,” and every man in the place was terrified of them. And that actually happened.
So, when I'm reading Lis' book -- and I recommend the book because it will stimulate discussion with your wife, your girlfriend, whoever, and you know, you can learn from it. The book again is The 51% Minority. I'm not sympathetic to Lis' argument at all. I think that Lis has put forth this argument based upon facts. It is true that women make less and that, you know, women have a bigger burden because they have children at home and -- that's all true. But I say the government is not gonna change that and that, in a lot of places, women have formed cabals to terrorize the men because they take advantage of, “Oh, we're downtrodden. You're kicking us in the teeth.”
And if you go around the world -- and this is my final argument -- every country that I've ever been to, women are treated worse [than] in the United States. I mean, if you go to Japan, for example, you go to China, anywhere in the Orient, you go to Australia, it's outrageous. You go in the Muslim countries, Lis Wiehl gets executed for writing this book. Lis Wiehl's --
WIEHL: I'm never coming back from there.
O'REILLY: Lis Wiehl is beheaded right now in Saudi Arabia for writing this book. Even if you go to Europe -- if you go to Italy and you're a good-looking woman like Lis is, you're gonna have to be black and blue all day long, if you know what I'm talking about. Guys are gonna put their hands on you in that society in Italy, in Spain, all right.
So, all of this whining about American women -- “We don't have this; we don't have that” -- to me, I'm not real sympathetic. But I am a barbarian.
WIEHL: But birth control, I mean, that will create a medical condition if you don't have birth control.
O'REILLY: But it's not a medical condition.
WIEHL: Oh come on, Bill.
O'REILLY: Buy your own. Buy your own.
WIEHL: If -- and -- all -- if an employer doesn't cover Viagra, then I'm fine with that. But if they cover Viagra, then they should cover --
O'REILLY: There's still a distinction between a physical condition that doesn't allow you to perform.
WIEHL: I am sorry. I want our listeners --
O'REILLY: Oh, “I want.” Here we go.
WIEHL: I want our -- no, this is what I'm --
O'REILLY: Give me, take me, buy me, I want. I -- I want. I want.
WIEHL: If you let me finish. I want our listeners to weigh in on this because I think they will say that you are absolutely off the mark.
O'REILLY: Look, again, I'm not promoting the government paying for Viagra. But I'm saying there's a difference between a medical condition that debilitates a guy in this area and you and women having birth control. Buy your own. I don't wanna pay for your birth control. I'm sorry, I don't.
CALLER: I'm very angry with you. I had no idea that you were so sexist and so discriminatory.
O'REILLY: About what?
CALLER: A woman -- a woman nowhere at any time because she's being discriminated against at her work should have to quit her job and move to a different job.
O'REILLY: I had to do it.
CALLER: That is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard you say.
O'REILLY: I had to do it.
CALLER: You didn't have to do it, you chose.
O'REILLY: Sure, I did.
CALLER: You chose.
O'REILLY: I absolutely had to do it. I was being discriminated against, because I was a single guy who was much better than the old-timers who were there, and I didn't get paid nearly what they got, and there was a little cabal in the place and I had to go. Now, let me ask you something, [caller]. Do you want the government to right these wrongs? [Caller]?
CALLER: Yes, the government should right these wrongs. This is America. It's the land of equality.
O'REILLY: OK. I know it's America, but the government usually doesn't intrude on the marketplace.
CALLER: Bill, anytime anyone calls you, you just continue to talk through them. You don't wanna hear what they have to say, and I'm really angry with you today.
O'REILLY: You're an angry woman, [caller].
CALLER: I have never -- I have never called you before today. I'm not an angry woman.
O'REILLY: You're an angry -- you're an angry woman. I don't know why you're angry at me. I'm putting forth a point of view that you don't like, but I'm also putting forward the point of view that is valid. Now, your point of view's valid too. We just -- we just disagree on the issue, so you're never gonna listen again. I mean, what does that tell you?
WIEHL: [Caller], I hope you still listen. But, look, stay on the line, and I wanna send you a copy of 51% Minority, OK?
O'REILLY: But you just make her more angry.
WIEHL: No, she's gonna feel empowered.
O'REILLY: Some guy's gonna get popped.
O'REILLY: Well, that's because it's almost like being a baseball player. There are no women baseball players because, physically, men are stronger than women. And when you do combat, as you well know, strength is very important on a number of different levels.
If it were me, I wouldn't have any women in combat. That's how much of a barbarian I am. I wouldn't put any of them on the frontline for physical reasons, all right -- and for camaraderie and a lot of other different reasons: psychological, emotional, all kinds of stuff.
I'd have women in the armed services, absolutely, but they'd be in support roles, not on the frontlines -- but that's just me. But there are women in combat right this second.