What Some African-American Students Think of the Bill O’Reilly Scandal?

Senior Editor Andrew Henry. also has a show on Hunter student radio.

By Senior Editor Andrew Henry
May 12, 2017

As we all should know by now, Fox News Bill O’Reilly has been fired from due to allegations of him sexually harassing women. But let’s be clear. O’Reilly was not fired by Fox because of the allegations. He was actually fired because sponsors/advertisers decided to no longer support his toxic sideshow and that resulted in Fox terminating him to the tune of $25,000,000 – a hell of a golden parachute.

I interviewed several African American CUNY students for their opinions. Hunter is noted as the most diverse of CUNY’s four-years colleges and other WORD reporters were assigned to interview students representing the college’s ethnically diverse diaspora.

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Arthur Samuels, 22, a Hunter sociology major who resides in Astoria, Queens, said he didn’t really care much about O’Reilly. Asked, “When you hear the name Bill O’Reilly what do you think?” Samuels responded, “I think of an old white man who is basically just like Donald Trump. I think of someone who’s old and bitter and loud, basically someone who just is so mad all the time.”

Asked about O’Reilly no longer being on air, Samuels was pretty happy about it. “It’s great that he’s no longer on the air. I feel like if Fox kept him on the air then it would illustrate a bad example for viewers and people who want to potentially have their own show like him one day. If they left him on the air it basically warrants people to believe that committing a crime is okay, because apparently you wouldn’t even lose your job.”

Keyshia Rogers. Picture by Andrew Henry

Keyshia Rogers, 23, a Brooklyn College English major from Jamaica, Queens, was nonchalant. “I have never watched an episode of Bill O’Reilly’s show. I have seen excerpts on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram of course but by those snippets I have never wanted to watch the show. He seems pretty arrogant and rude.”

I also wanted to know what Rogers thought about O’Reilly’s golden parachute. “I am not surprised that he’s getting a big check after getting fired. It’s a regular thing for white people. Like cops usually get “leave with pay” sometimes after they kill a black kid. Nothing surprises me these days to be honest.”


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Stephon Lewis – 20, City College, yet to declare a major, from Harlem, when asked, ‘When you hear the name Bill O’Reilly what do you think?’ replied, “I don’t think of him.”Asked “What do you think of the fact that he is no longer on the air?” Lewis said, “I personally don’t care because I don’t follow him or what he does at all.” It was interesting to learn how much information he didn’t know. I went on and asked, “Do you think that he is getting the same treatment as Bill Cosby?” Lewis said, “I know more about Bill Crosby’s situation more than I know about Bill O’Reilly’s so I don’t think it’s fair to Bill O’Reilly if I say anything because I don’t know anything about his situation.”

Geneviève Charles, 22, a Hunter biology major who resides in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, knew a lot about the hot topic. Asked, “Do you know why he is no longer on the air?” she said, “I actually do know he’s no longer on the air. I think a lot of people think that he is no longer on the air because of the allegations but in reality he is actually no longer on Fox because his sponsors for his show pulled out following the release of this news.”

Geneviève Charles. Picture by Andrew Henry.

Even though Charles is knowledgeable about the topic she has never actually watched The O’Reilly Factor. “I haven’t watched his show but I know it caters to a specific kind of America. His show is basically for Trump supporters and people who are scared of a new America. His show is for Americans who want to stick to American traditional values.”

Asked, “Do you think that he is getting the same treatment as Bill Cosby?” Charles said, “I don’t think he is getting the same treatment as Bill Cosby but he shouldn’t. Bill Cosby’s case is different from Bill O’Reilly’s case. They’re both two different situations. I am not too sure but I think Bill Cosby’s case is way more serious in terms of allegations and women coming up out the woodworks to accuse him of drugging them and sexually taking advantage of them.”

An Update on Bill Cosby

My interviews might get the impression that Hunter students I interviewed are up on big headline news.  It was clear that most didn’t care about him or the topic. It should be understood that students are not likely to be informed on topics that don’t interest them. As college students, we are so busy that it is hard to keep up with every news story with big headlines. I understood why those I interviewed they did not care.

To be honest, what has Bill O’Reilly done for them to be interested?


Andrew Henry can be reached at Andrew.Henry86@myhunter.cuny.edu