Bill O’Reilly thinks it's 'Killing Bill O'Reilly' time

Ken Tucker
Critic-at-Large, Yahoo Entertainment
Bill O’Reilly (Photo: Fox News)

On his is-anybody-listening? podcast Monday night, Bill O’Reilly said that the most recent New York Times piece about him — in which it was revealed that O’Reilly had spent $32 million of his own money in a sexual-harassment settlement with former Fox contributor Lis Wiehl — was an attempt to “link Bill O’Reilly to Harvey Weinstein.” He bragged about his recent achievements — the bestseller Killing England and … well, he said his one-off appearance on Hannity a few weeks ago was “a big thing.” But because of those successes, he asserted, “The New York Times said, ‘So, you know, we didn’t kill him, so we’ve got to kill him again.'” Got it: The Times rarely reviews any of Bill’s Killing books, but he thinks the newspaper is working on one of its own: Killing Bill O’Reilly.

O’Reilly is all about victimhood. He dismisses all allegations against him as “garbage” and “bulls***.” (He used that last term in an interview with the Times, which can be heard on the paper’s podcast, The Daily, posted Tuesday. I think it’s safe to say he thought the interview was over when he lashed out, and thus is perhaps the only instance I can think of in which O’Reilly’s complaints about unfairness may be valid.)

The former Fox News host had a tough start to the workweek. On Monday morning, Megyn Kelly silenced her chattering studio audience and reined in her happy-dancing to read the text of a severe email complaint against O’Reilly, sent to Fox brass shortly before she left Fox News. O’Reilly dismissed this on Monday afternoon in a radio conversation with Glenn Beck, saying Kelly had never filed a formal complaint with the HR department; he also posted two notes Kelly wrote to him that proved, he said, that she “never had a problem with me.” (One of them was a thank-you note for a baby-shower gift.)

Rounding out the day, on Monday night’s Late Show, Stephen Colbert referred to the man as “Uncle Touch-Too-Much” and suggested that Fox News’ renewal of O’Reilly’s contract last year could have been a strategy “to protect their female employees, because if Bill’s on-camera, that’s one hour a day they know he’s not groping someone.”

O’Reilly has asserted in numerous interviews — including with the Times and with Beck — that the primary reason he settled any of his harassment claims is because “it’s brutalizing my family.” But he’s not above causing pain to other families. On Monday, he compared his family’s potential pain to actual pain experienced by another former Fox anchor, Eric Bolling. Bolling left Fox this past summer after sending lewd texts to co-workers. Shortly after his departure, his son died. O’Reilly told the Times: “I urge you to think about what you put in your newspaper. Eric Bolling’s son is dead. He’s dead because of allegations made — in my opinion and I know this to be true — against Mr. Bolling.” Monday afternoon Bolling issued a statement saying O’Reilly’s comment was “beyond inappropriate” and asking O’Reilly not to make such a connection; O’Reilly apologized later that day.

Where does O’Reilly go from here? Well, back to Fox: On his Monday podcast, he said he will appear on Laura Ingraham’s new Fox show, The Ingraham Angle, which premieres Oct. 30. So while Fox acts self-righteous about having rid itself of O’Reilly as an employee, it has no problem booking him to goose ratings for its shows. Ingraham’s new show will occupy the 10 p.m. slot, which means that O’Reilly will soon have appeared on two out of three Fox primetime hours. The only one left is Tucker Carlson Tonight — which, of course, occupies the 8 p.m. hour that once contained The O’Reilly Factor. In the topsy-turvy world of Fox News and sexual harassment, if things get any worse for Bill, Tucker might be forced to give him back his time slot as a consolation victim-prize.

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