The tally is now up to 52 companies that have pulled their advertising for Bill O’Reilly’s long-running shouting showcase The O’Reilly Factor. This comes in the wake of The New York Times report that Fox News renewed his contract despite having spent, along with O’Reilly, a combined $13 million in sexual harassment settlements against the anchor over the years. While similar charges were enough to oust network head Roger Ailes last year, apparently as long as things stayed quiet, O’Reilly’s folksy brand of racially charged “good ol’ days” political punditry remained okay to keep on the air. It has all only helped his ratings, although that could just be people rubber-necking to see when the host’s notoriously explosive temper finally goes off. A vote of support from our standing president probably didn’t hurt.
Perhaps O’Reilly was further relieved to see that some of the world’s outrage moved from him to Pepsi yesterday in the wake of their supremely tasteless Kendall Jenner-solves-police-brutality ad, which has now been pulled. But lo, the internet never sleeps, and a supremely relevant old story has resurfaced.
Yes, just a short 15 years ago, a slightly less jowly O’Reilly railed against Pepsi for using goofy pop-rap mainstay Ludacris as a spokesperson. His extremely righteous reasoning was that Luda is “a man who degrades women,” and why on earth would an enormous corporation choose to advertise with a monster like that? He succeeded in getting Ludacris’s sponsorship dropped, saying, in the clip, “He’s not an artist, he’s a thug.”
Of course, this word choice is intentional, and part of O’Reilly’s long war against hip-hop, which he heroically waged on behalf of, as he put it, “the poor in our society,” despite the fact that he is a crusty old racist who knows dick about hip-hop. In fact, in 2015, Noisey put together “A brief history of Bill O’Reilly knowing dick about hip-hop,” a movement which he has, throughout his show’s history, bandied about as uniformly violent, and somehow a lesser, more base form of popular culture than, say, his own contribution of churning out endless books about killing presidents. Apparently violence is only a lens through which to view power and history when Bill O’Reilly benefits from it.
His beef with Ludacris is less about the rapper having degraded women than it is about him getting sponsorship at all. As the Times report proves, O’Reilly thinks degrading women is just fine as long as it’s an old white guy doing it. It’s all perfectly in line with the image the allegations paint of Fox News honchos as a venal gang of good old boys clutching their pearls in public while clutching something very different behind closed doors.
Delight in O’Reilly’s long-brewing comeuppance by revisiting Cam’ron’s immortal appearance on the Factor below:
Purple Haze is a classic and Bill O’Reilly should not have spoken ill of it.