×

Bill O’Reilly’s Most Shocking Quotes: The Hoodie, ACLU Terrorists and Victim-Blaming

Bill O’Reilly was ousted from Fox News Wednesday after increased attention on sexual harassment allegations leveled at the television show host caused a nationwide outcry and resulted in dozens of advertisers pulling their ads from O’Reilly’s primetime slot.

The longtime host was known for his outspoken and incendiary comments. Here are some of his statements that came under fire for being in insensitive, racist, sexist, homophobic, or disrespectful.

ACLU Terrorists: In 2005, O’Reilly stated on an edition of his talk show “The Radio Factor,” that the ACLU was “the most dangerous organization in the United States of America right now,” second only to Al Qaeda.  O’Reilly had also referred to the ACLU as a “terrorist group” and “fascist organization” in the past and on a separate occasion said that Hitler, Stalin, Fidel Castro, and Mao Zedong would likely be members of the ACLU.

The Notorious Hoodie: In 2012, O’Reilly stated his explanation for why Trayvon Martin was shot: he was wearing a hoodie. “The reason Trayvon Martin died is because he looked a certain way. It wasn’t based on skin color, if Trayvon Martin had been wearing a jacket…and a tie…I don’t think George Zimmerman would have had any problem with him. And that way is how “gangstas” look and therefore he got attention.”

Birth Control Blunder: In 2012, Bill O’Reilly equated the use of birth control with sexual activity, asking Sandra Fluke, a Georgetown law student who testified before Congress regarding mandated insurance coverage of contraceptives, “You want me to give you my hard-earned money so you can have sex?” He went on to say that Sandra Fluke “clearly wanted society to pay for her activities,” and equated the government mandating contraceptive coverage to the government purchasing football equipment for college football teams.

9/11 Disrespect: In 2003, O’Reilly interviewed Jeremy Glick, whose father had been killed in the 9/11 attacks. Their discussion became heated when Glick accused O’Reilly of capitalizing on the tragedy of 9/11 for his own gain.

“I’ve done more for the 9/11 families by their own admission,” O’Reilly stated. “I’ve done more for them than you will ever hope to do, so you keep your mouth shut.” Eventually, O’Reilly told him to shut up directly and said, “Cut his mic.” He also repeatedly implied that Glick’s father would take issue with Glick’s positions and that O’Reilly had more respect for Glick’s father than Glick himself.

“Interspecies Marriage”: For years in the early 2000s, O’Reilly claimed that legalizing gay marriage would lead to “poly-amorphous” marriage, including not only polygamous marriage, but also interspecies marriage. When expounding on this theory, he often seemed to select whatever animal came to mind as an example: he speculated that people would try to marry goats, dolphins, turtles, and ducks.

Black Lives Kills: In 2016, Bill O’Reilly opened one of his Talking Points segments with the statement that “Black Lives Matter is killing Americans.” O’Reilly directly linked recent rises in homicide rates in some large American cities over the previous year to a supposed diminished amount of aggressive policing due to the “Ferguson effect:” less aggressive policing due to the attention on excessive force. The theory was echoed by FBI director James Comey and termed the “viral video effect” — but it received little backing from law enforcement groups, criminologists, or the organizations that monitor homicide rate data. Many other major American cities saw decreases in homicide rates in the same period.

Victim-Blamer-in-Chief: In 2006, O’Reilly referred to Jennifer Moore, an 18-year-old rape and murder victim, as “moronic” for getting her car getting towed in New York City while she was drunk. He also insinuated that her inebriation and manner of dress were at least partially to blame for her death: “She was 5-foot-2, 105 pounds, wearing a miniskirt and a halter top with a bare midriff. Now, again, there you go. So every predator in the world is gonna pick that up at two in the morning.”

Tasteless Jokes: In 2005, O’Reilly stated on his radio show, possibly in jest but definitely in poor taste, that he wished “Katrina had only hit the United Nations building, nothing else, just had flooded them out,” adding that he wouldn’t have rescued them. He was talking about the United Nations in reference to President George W. Bush’s visit to the governmental body.

U.S. Disaster Area: During his Bold & Fresh Tour in 2010 with Glenn Beck, O’Reilly compared the South Side of Chicago to Haiti, one of the poorest countries in the world. “If you’ve ever been to the South Side of Chicago, I mean, it’s a disaster, all right? It’s like Haiti, it’s like — I’ve been to Haiti a couple of times. I support some charities there, but Haiti just never gets better, no matter how much money you put in there because they don’t have a system.”

White Power Player: In 2016, O’Reilly stated during a Talking Points memo that “the left wants power taken away from the white establishment,” causing some observers to liken his phrasing to that of proponents of apartheid in South Africa. He made similar phrasing choices in 2012, stating that Mitt Romney was an establishment candidate and that the “white establishment is now in the minority.”

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • T.J. Dillashaw, right, kicks Cody Garbrandt

    Disney Plans UFC Broadcast for FX

    UFC matches will return to FX  – but not on a permanent basis. ESPN has been showing preliminary bouts to UFC pay-per-view events for the last while on ESPN and ESPN2, and then showing the main card on its ESPN+ subscription video service. In September, the early lineup will air on FX, which the UFC [...]

  • George RR Martin

    George R.R. Martin Says HBO's 'Game of Thrones' Ending Won't Influence Future Novels

    Geroge R.R. Martin is sticking to his original plan when it comes to the future of “Game of Thrones.” In an interview with The Observer, Martin claimed that HBO’s controversial ending for the series would have no affect on the endings of the last two novels. “No, it doesn’t. It doesn’t change anything at all,” [...]

  • Listen: 'Pennyworth' Producer Talks Delving into

    Listen: 'Pennyworth' Executive Producer Talks Delving into Alfred's Backstory

    Bruno Heller may have served as an executive producer on the Batman-inspired series “Gotham” for the past five years, but it’s actually real-life people (not superheroes) that intrigue the producer the most. It’s for that exact reason that Heller’s newest series finds him exploring the origin stories of Batman’s butler Alfred in the Epix drama [...]

  • "Trust Issues" - Dylan and Lizzie

    'Instinct' Canceled After Two Seasons

    CBS has canceled “Instinct” after two seasons. Series creator Michael Rauch announced the cancellation Friday on Twitter, writing, “I’m very sad to relay the news that @instinctcbs won’t be renewed for a 3rd season. We will double up this Sunday and our season/series finale will be Aug 25.” Rauch also thanked series stars Alan Cumming [...]

  • Maisel Day

    My Mostly OK Maisel Day (Column)

    When Amazon announced its first-ever Maisel Day, I was intrigued. For one day, Aug. 15, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” fans and Angelenos (fangelenos?) could hit up various restaurants, theaters and retailers throughout Los Angeles for special deals, all at 1959 prices. Among the gems: $2.50 makeovers, $0.99 pastrami sandwiches and $0.30 for a gallon of [...]

  • Nordisk Film & TV Fond Announces

    Nordisk Film & TV Fond Backs Joachim Trier, Ole Bornedal, Yellow Bird

    Nordisk Film & TV Fond has announced three features, two series and a documentary set to receive $1.4m in financing, as well as distribution, dubbing and cultural initiative support recipients. Doing so, it highlights some of the key titles moving forward in the Nordic region. Already backed by the Danish Film Institute’s largest ever grant [...]

  • TV News Roundup: 'Silicon Valley' Final

    TV News Roundup: 'Silicon Valley's' Final Season Sets October Premiere Date

    In today’s roundup, “Silicon Valley” returns to HBO on Oct. 27 and Quibi greenlights a new cooking competition show “Dismantled.” DATES The fifth season of Netflix‘s “Peaky Blinders” will premiere on the streamer Oct. 4. The newest season will continue to follow one gangster family in the lawless streets of Birmingham, UK during the midst [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content