A segment on Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor ridiculed New York City's Human Rights Law protecting transgender New Yorkers by mocking the transgender community and ignoring the need for anti-discrimination protections.
Fox host Bill O'Reilly invited Fox Business host Lisa Kennedy Montgomery and contributor Katie Pavlich to discuss New York City's Human Rights Law which “expands the scope” of existing anti-discrimination protections that “prohibits discrimination in employment, public accommodations, and housing” and “discriminatory harassment” by law enforcement. The law protects citizens from “landlords, employers and businesses” intentionally misgendering a person in an attempt to denigrate them. It also affords employees with health plans “benefits for gender-affirming care or failing to accommodate people undergoing gender transition, such as medical appointments” from their health insurance.
O'Reilly and his panel ignored protections granted by the law and instead focused their discussion on arguing that the law would hurt employers, claiming that their employees would want to be “Horatio” one day and “Sheila” the next day in order to file “frivolous lawsuits.” O'Reilly also mocked the guidelines for protecting New Yorkers who are not transgender but “transvestites like in Rocky Horror Picture Show.” From the January 5 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
BILL O'REILLY (HOST): So explain this to me. So you got a transgendered person. This is work place, right?
LISA KENNEDY MONTGOMERY: It's actually -- it goes beyond the workplace.
O'REILLY: It does? It goes everywhere. So you are in a McDonald's and there is a transgendered and you are serving them and if you say hey, sir, or, what?
KENNEDY: Yes. If you address someone by a pronoun that they don't want --
O'REILLY: Do they tell you before they order the Big Mac and fries?
KENNEDY: Let's just deal with the work place. If someone works at McDonald's and they're transitioning to become a woman and they want to be called madam or Sheila, you have to address them -
O'REILLY: So they're behind the counter. We are talking about a McDonald's employee? They tell the management I used to be -- I used to be Horatio but now I'm Sheila and you are to call me Sheila or I'm going to sue you?
KENNEDY: Yes. And then if you report them to the human rights commission here in New York City, you could be fined $125,000. However, if you were found to have committed that offense and several others like forcing someone to wear a dress who wants to become a man or forcing a woman to wear a necktie, you can be fined up to $250,000.
O'REILLY: So if there is a dress code, say you are in a department store and person comes in, in a dress but last week was in a tie and jacket like this, you can't say anything?
KENNEDY: No. You can't say anything. You cannot force them to. If you are an employer and if you have a strict dress code...
O'REILLY: So they can dress, even if they are not transgendered. What if they are a transvestite? Like in Rocky Horror Picture show?
KENNEDY: It doesn't have to be someone who has undergone surgery.
O'REILLY: Someone who just on Thursday they want to be Sheila?
KENNEDY: Gender norms, yes. The language is so broad.