The sun is shining, the bells are ringing, it’s the beginning of a new day! What’s all the happiness about you ask? Yesterday Bill O’Reilly was fired from his high-profile position at FOX News.
I don’t normally have such a positive reaction to an individual losing their job, but let’s face it, Bill O’Reilly was an overpaid tyrant. He made a name for himself based on hating most people who weren’t white Christians, or male for that matter, disrespected any opinion dissenting from his own, and popularized bigotry. If his persona was an act, he created one of the greatest villains in television history.
As it turns out, O’Reilly’s act was anything but. With recent multiple sexual harassment allegations, it turns out the host of the wildly popular O’Reilly Factor is a legitimate scumbag. More and more women who have worked with him have come forward claiming he made multiple crude and unsolicited sexual and racist comments toward them and resorted to intimidation to stop them from complaining. O’Reilly’s celebrity status and financial privilege always seemed to keep these allegations under the radar, until now. After the news broke of the allegations, the show lost over fifty advertisers. Sorry Bill, even FOX knows you can’t spin this one.
If you ever watched The O’Reilly Factor, you know he dominated conversations by not allowing people to talk, made outlandish assumptions about whatever social group he was criticizing that day, and seemingly made things up as he went along.
Humanists were no stranger to O’Reilly’s criticism. One of his biggest qualms with secularism was his yearly revisit to the “war on Christmas.” ”Everything [in America] was swell until about ten years ago when creeping secularism…began attacking the Christmas holiday,” he claimed a few years back. And who, you ask, were the offenders spreading this war on Christmas? “On the national front, there are three primary culprits seeking to diminish Christmas,” O’Reilly said on that 2013 episode, “the ACLU, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, and the American Humanist Association.”
I’ll never forget AHA Planned Giving Director Fred Edwords’s 2008 appearance on the O’Reilly Factor. Edwords joined the show to discuss the AHA’s regional holiday bus ad campaign promoting the message “Why believe in a god? Just be good for goodness’ sake” for Christmas. While Edwords (who, if you know him, will relentlessly fact-check you as he did O’Reilly that day) was able to get more words in than most guests do, O’Reilly didn’t shy away from his condescending comments about non-belief. He proved, again, his intolerance and missed an opportunity to civilly debate and understand the nonbeliever’s view of religious holidays.
The O’Reilly Factor went after the AHA again during the holiday season in 2009 saying that “atheists are jealous of the Yuletide season” calling AHA Executive Director Roy Speckhardt “the head humanist guy” and saying he needs to “wise up” while suggesting that atheists simply want to ruin Christmas for most humans because nonbelievers are all miserable.
Finally, after twenty years, The O’Reilly Factor has come to an end. His reign of perpetuating the stigma against humanists, freethinkers, non-Christians, women, minority communities, and basically anyone who did not live a parallel life to his, is finally over.
So Bill, as we “liberal, freethinking, social-justice-type people” do what we can to navigate this world without your “grounding” commentary, I say to you, SO LONG (and by all means, let the door hit you on the way out)!