Bill O'Reilly's Persistent Campaign To Deny The Existence Of White Privilege

Fox News' Bill O'Reilly has led a sustained campaign to deny the existence of white privilege in America, drawing on his belief that he did not benefit from it growing up and using statistics to claim the existence of “Asian privilege.”

May 2014

Fox's O'Reilly: “I'm Going To Have To Exempt Myself” From Having White Privilege. On the May 14 edition of Fox's The O'Reilly Factor, the host insisted that he benefited from no such privilege because his parents “did not have a lot of money.” O'Reilly added, “I am going to have exempt myself under that white privilege banner.” [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor5/14/14]

Fox's O'Reilly: “I Do Not Believe You Are Granted Favorable Treatment In This Country Because You Are White.” On the May 15 edition of The O'Reilly Factor, the host dismissed the theory of white privilege by citing his personal experience. O'Reilly responded to a viewer letter noting, “Few in the marketplace have bestowed favor on me, Ms. Howard, because I am an independent maverick and kind of obnoxious. I understand that will not convince you but I do not believe you are granted favorable treatment in this country because you are white. You have to work for success.” [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor5/15/14]

August 2014

Fox's O'Reilly: Racial Disparities Are Due To “Families, Culture, Personal Responsibility,” Not White Privilege. On the August 25 edition of Fox's The O'Reilly Factor, the host was confronted by his Fox colleague Megyn Kelly, who presented a litany of evidence to support the fact that African-Americans are systemically disadvantaged compared to white Americans. O'Reilly dismissed the disparities as a failure of “families, culture, personal responsibility.”He also compared the African-American experience in America with the Asian-American community, which he said “is not in a troubled situation.” [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor8/25/14]

Fox's O'Reilly Says He "Does Not Believe In White Privilege." On the August 26 edition of The O'Reilly Factor, O'Reilly followed up on his discussion about white privilege with Fox's Megyn Kelly by again denying the existence of white privilege and reasserting that racial disparities between African-Americans and whites are a result of a lack of “personal responsibility”:

O'REILLY: Talking Points does not, does not believe in white privilege. However, there is no question that African-Americans have a much harder time succeeding in our society than whites do.


American children must learn not only academics but also civil behavior, right from wrong, as well as how to speak properly and how to act respectfully in public. If African-American children do not learn those things, they will likely fail as adults. They will be poor. They will be angry, and they often will be looking to blame someone else. One caveat, the Asian-American experience historically has not been nearly as tough as the African-American experience. Slavery is unique and it has harmed black Americans to a degree that is still being felt today.

But, in order to succeed in our competitive society, every American has to overcome the obstacles they face. And here is where the African-American leadership in America is failing. Instead of preaching a cultural revolution, the leadership provide excuses for failure. The race hustlers blame white privilege, an unfair society, a terrible country. So the message is, it's not your fault if you abandon your children, if you become a substance abuser, if you are a criminal. No, it's not your fault, it's society's fault. That is the big lie that is keeping some African-Americans from reaching their full potential. Until personal responsibility and a cultural change takes place, millions of African-Americans will struggle, and their anger, some of it justified, will seethe. [Fox News,The O'Reilly Factor8/26/14]

September 2014

Fox's O'Reilly: “I'm Saying There's No White Privilege; There Must Be Asian Privilege.” On the September 3 edition of The O'Reilly Factor, Bill O'Reilly was joined by Mediaite's Tina Nguyen in order to respond to a previous segment in which the host had compared the employment rates and out-of-wedlock births of African-Americans and Asian-Americans to white Americans. Using the statistics to discredit the existence of white privilege, O'Reilly instead declared that “there must be Asian privilege.” [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 9/3/14]

Fox's O'Reilly On White Privilege: “That's A Myth.” During the September 8 edition of The O'Reilly Factor, O'Reilly was joined by Fusion's Jorge Ramos for an interview to be shown in full on America With Jorge Ramos. After Ramos confronted the host about his views on white privilege and whether it played a role in the deaths of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, O'Reilly asserted that attributing the teens' deaths to “the color of their skin” was “not based on facts.” After Ramos claimed that “whites are doing much better than African-Americans,” O'Reilly pointed to successes of Asian-Americans, using his claim to assert that white privilege is a “myth.” [ Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 9/8/14]