Bill O'Reilly told a listener: “I didn't call for any boycott. I never do that, except for France, and that's lifted.” It was not the first time that O'Reilly falsely claimed that he “never” calls for boycotts. As Media Matters for America has documented, O'Reilly has previously denied calling for boycotts, but has in fact called for them on several occasions.
During the September 19 edition of his nationally syndicated radio program, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly told a listener with whom he was discussing what he said are the negative effects of rap on our culture: “I'm going to go after anybody who rewards bad behavior. ... I didn't call for any boycott. I never do that, except for France, and that's lifted." The broadcast was not the first in which O'Reilly has falsely claimed that he “never” calls for boycotts. As Media Matters for America has documented, although O'Reilly has previously denied calling for boycotts, he has in fact called for them on several occasions against a number of entities with which he has found fault. For example:
- On the June 20, 2006, broadcast of his radio show, O'Reilly declared that he would “name the names” of organizations that he claimed are “helping the enemy,” and then told his listeners: "[I]t's up to you guys to take action against them in a sense of boycotting their products, letting them know that this is unacceptable." Later in the program, O'Reilly revealed the groups he believes are “helping the enemy” -- a list that included the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the International Red Cross, the BBC, Air America Radio, and The New York Times.
- On the August 27, 2002, edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, O'Reilly attacked PepsiCo for offering rapper Chris “Ludacris” Bridges an endorsement deal. O'Reilly called for “responsible Americans to fight back and punish Pepsi for using a man who degrades women, who encourages substance abuse, and does all the things that hurt particularly the poor in our society.” O'Reilly continued: “I'm calling for all Americans to say, Hey, Pepsi, I'm not drinking your stuff. You want to hang around with Ludacris, you do that, I'm not hanging around with you.” On The O'Reilly Factor the very next day, O'Reilly took credit for Pepsi's decision to cancel the Ludacris ad campaign, saying, “But because of pressure by Factor viewers, Pepsi-Cola late today capitulated. Ludacris has been fired.” However, on February 4, 2003, O'Reilly reversed course, claiming he never advocated a boycott: “I never do anything tacitly. I do things directly. I simply said I wasn't going to drink Pepsi while that guy [Ludacris] was on their payroll. No boycott was ever mentioned by me.”
O'REILLY: John, Indianapolis. What say you, John?
CALLER: I think your spinning and bloviating does not do the black community justice. You're just giving fodder to your viewers who have a negative view of black people anyway, so your pointing out a couple of Twistas and Ludacrises in the large general population is shameful. I think you're ruining people's opportunity to make income, and I wish black America would wake up and start boycotting these companies that you convince to boycott artists. Who are you gonna go after next?
O'REILLY: I'm going to go after anybody who rewards bad behavior, and just because you condone bad behavior is not going to stop me. What I think I'm doing is calling these people out who are injuring other Americans, and if corporate America is going to reward those people, then I'm going to bring it to everybody's attention. And -- I didn't call for any boycott. I never do that, except for France, and that's lifted. I just bring it to people's attention. Here's what they're doing. They make the call. You don't like what I'm doing, OK, fine. I think I'm doing the right thing. I think you're justifying bad behavior. I think you have your head in the sand.
We'll be back.