The author of the blog I receive this series from offered some advice for those of you who skim through the videos (on occasion, I happen to be one of these people, so don’t feel too bad). She urges you to watch the Steve Harvey and O’Reilly interview; I happen to agree with her and think her reasons for recommending this one particular interview is so you get a real understanding of what Michael had to go through as a direct result from his Vitiligo. Without further ado, here’s part 5.
Analyzing The Media’s Hypocrisy In Reporting On The Michael Jackson Settlement Cases vs The Settlements Of Other Celebrities
By: Dave Edwards
Bill O’Reilly And Rick Pitino
O’Reilly, who has the #1 rated show on cable news, was hit with a sexual harassment lawsuit by a female employee in October 2004. The accuser, Andrea Mackris, claims that O’Reilly engaged her in sexually explicit conversations over dinner and during phone calls after work, which she recorded. (And we know that they were recorded because the accuser listed some of his quotes in the lawsuit, which are very embarrassing to someone who tries to act like the sheriff of the morality police on his show.) She described the conversations as “lewd, lascivious, vile, and threatening”.
O’Reilly filed an extortion lawsuit against her, and issued the following statement:
“As a public figure, I have received many threats,” he said. “But enough is enough … The threats stop now. I will not give in to extortion.”
Mackris says that, beginning in 2002, her boss regularly regaled her with sordid sexual tales — at times over dinner, but most often over the phone. Her complaint reveals it as the kind of dirty talk for which some lonely hearts might pay $3.99 per minute.
Mackris’s complaint details O’Reilly’s alleged soliloquies – complete with “ums” and pauses. It seems likely, for this reason, that Mackris must have somehow recorded O’Reilly’s ramblings. And these recordings, if they occurred in New York, may have been perfectly legal: New York is a “one party consent” state when it comes to recording — which means that although wiretaps remain illegal, one party to a conversation can legally tape the other without his knowledge.
These facts suggest the strong probability that O’Reilly really did make the comments Mackris ascribes to him. If so, O’Reilly’s public image will doubtless be harmed: The notorious conservative will seem hypocritical, for he is the married father of two small children. If he used his producer as a soundboard for his own sexual fantasies, that not only wasn’t part of her job – it was decidedly contrary to his image and beliefs. But was it, under the law, sexual harassment?
On October 29th, 2004, a few weeks after the lawsuits were filed, both parties agreed to settle out of court. Here is O’Reilly’s statement about the settlement on his show.
When you watch that video, listen how O’Reilly implores his viewers to “not believe everything they hear and read”. (Hmmm, kinda sounds like MJ’s song “Tabloid Junkie”, huh?) In this article, he plays the victim by saying that “this matter has caused enormous pain, but I had to protect my family and I did. Some of the media hammered me relentlessly because, as you know, I am a huge target, as is Fox News.”
O’Reilly was put in the same situation as Kobe. He couldn’t afford to defend himself in civil court because his reputation would be ruined once his dirty laundry – in this case, those taped phone conversations that would make a prostitute blush – was aired. Personally, I wouldn’t be surprised if O’Reilly was having an affair with Mackris, and that this is a case of a lover scorned. As Jonna Spilbor alluded to in her analysis, Andrea Mackris wouldn’t have recorded all of those explicit phone conversations unless she was having a consensual relationship. If she was truly offended, then she would have immediately reported the harassment to the management of Fox News. And it also wouldn’t surprise me if Fox News “suggested” to O’Reilly that he settle the case, because –just as Sony depended on MJ to earn millions in profits – Fox depends on O’Reilly for the high ratings and revenues that he earns for the network. It was in Fox’s best interest that he settle the case, the same way it was in the Lakers & the NBA’s best interest that Kobe settled his case, and it was in Sony’s best interest that MJ settled his case.
Recently, Louisville University head basketball coach Rick Pitino pressed charges against a former fling who tried to extort millions of dollars from him in exchange for her not publicly admitting that they had a consensual sexual encounter in 2003. (Pitino was married at the time.) She became pregnant, and Pitino paid for her abortion. This incident was swept under the rug for six years, until she tried to extort $10 million dollars from him in August 2009. After he accused her of extortion, she tried to claim that she had been raped, but law enforcement declined to press charges due to lack of credibility. He didn’t give in, and the case went to trial, and she was convicted and faces a maximum prison term of 26 years.
Unfortunately, Pitino won the battle but lost the war, because he had to acknowledge the affair that he had, and if he wasn’t one of the greatest college coaches of all time, he surely would have lost his job. This is the negative publicity that MJ’s insurance company, Kobe Bryant, and Bill O’Reilly wanted to avoid by settling their lawsuits. Pitino discusses the aftermath of his trial in this interview.
Now, back to O’Reilly: in July 2009, when he interviewed Congressman Peter King about his disrespectful comments about MJ, he was careful to remind him that settling a civil lawsuit is not an admission of guilt. Peter King played the “he sleeps with little boys” card, which is what MJ haters typically do because they haven’t researched the facts, so they have to use scare tactics to get people to agree with their point of view.
King also felt that since he (and Sen. John McCain) lobbied to get boxer Jack Johnson pardoned by President Obama for the crime of marrying a white woman, that he can’t be a racist. (Personally, I don’t think King’s attack was motivated by racial prejudice, just his perceived “weirdness” of MJ. But the good news is that he will not be running for the U.S. Senate, so the publicity that he earned last year with is tirade, which he thought would help him in his campaign, was all in vain!)
In a 2005 interview with Jesse Jackson, MJ compared his trial to that of Jack Johnson, who was prosecuted under the Mann Act. Watch the video below for more comparisons!
Jack Johnson was the first black man to win the heavyweight championship in boxing in 1908, and he was known to openly date white women, which was a severe violation of social norms back then. In the FBI Files that were released to the public in December 2009, it was revealed that the LAPD wanted to use the Mann Act against MJ, but the FBI refused. The Mann Act was enacted with the intentions of using it to bring down Jack Johnson, the same way that California Evidence Code §1108 was enacted by Garcetti and Sneddon to bring down MJ. Charles Thomson wrote an excellent article on this topic last year.
While we’re on the subject of Peter King, let’s take a peek into his background! The fact that he said such cruel things about MJ while the nation mourned him should come as no surprise, as this man is also a religious bigot who feels that there are “too many mosques” in America, and who has shown support for the Irish Republican Army, a paramilitary terrorist group “dedicated to removing British forces from Northern Ireland”! He only withdrew his support for them when they refused to support the war in Iraq in 2003! With his checkered past, no wonder King is considered by some to be America’s Worst Congressman! (In this article, the author sarcastically asks King to present the evidence that he has that MJ was guilty, considering he surely didn’t say it in his youtube video!)
OK, back to O’Reilly! Maybe it took getting sued to make him realize that settling a civil lawsuit isn’t an admission of guilt, because in February 2004 (long before he was sued) he interviewed Geraldine Hughes, and he was very sympathetic to Evan Chandler. Judging by the length of the interview transcript, it’s safe to assume that the interview was around five minutes long, and he probably squeezed her in at the end of the show. O’Reilly exhibited a “guilty until proven innocent” mentality, and Geraldine did the best she could, but the 1993 case cannot be explained in a sound bite! Here is an excerpt of the interview where O’Reilly regurgitates the crap about Jordie’s description matching.
HUGHES: Well, okay — well, basically, it’s — my contention is that it was an elaborate — elaborate, meaning it was multifaceted. Multifaceted means I can throw you one thing and it’s really not going to matter until you pull it all together. Minus physical evidence, you have to look at the whole picture. You can’t just — one thing is not going to do it for you.
O’REILLY: All right.
HUGHES: But I will say this. I will say this. We have the finest police, law enforcement agency in the nation. There were four police agencies that went looking for evidence to corroborate with the little boy, and they found nothing. That really should be your biggest thing right there.
O’REILLY: Well, here’s what swayed me to disagree with you, and maybe you can put this in perspective for us. During the settlement hearings…
O’REILLY: The father, Dr. Chandler, all right, and your boss presented a scenario whereby the 13-year-old boy would identify marks on Michael Jackson’s body that nobody would have known about unless they had seen his intimate parts.
HUGHES: Right. Yes, okay.
O’REILLY: Now what say you, Madame?
HUGHES: I said did they bring him — did they arrest him based on their findings? Because had he accurately described parts that only someone could have described if they had seen it, that would have been — that was really what they were looking for, the mere fact that they didn’t bring him up on charges after that. And Michael even said the only reason why…
O’REILLY: The boy — after the $20 million changed hands, the boy then wouldn’t testify. And that’s how it went.
If you watch his interview with Aphrodite Jones from 2007, you’ll see him condescendingly ask her if she’d leave her kids alone with MJ, and of course he had to remind people that “not guilty doesn’t mean innocent”. And he has the audacity to call his show “the no-spin zone”! Based off the “phone sex” he had with his female employee, would you let your wife or girlfriend talk on the phone with him? I wouldn’t!
Before you feel any sympathy for O’Reilly, listen to MJ’s statement before his trial, and you’ll see how MJ also complains about the way his family has been hurt. And then think of all the times O’Reilly had Aphrodite Jones come on his show during the trial and peddle lies about MJ being guilty. Remember, she was told by Fox News to only report the dirt!
In fact, here is a collection of O’Reilly’s “opinions” on MJ:
In this first video, O’Reilly questions how MJ could possibly be a black hero, because he “bleached his skin”, “had white babies”, and had “plastic surgery”. He said that MJ “was just an entertainer, but THAT’S IT”, thus ignoring his humanitarian work (which is described in further detail later on in this piece). If we apply his logic to other entertainers, then U2’s Bono is also “just a rock star”, right? And Hollywood superstar Brad Pitt is also “just an actor”, right?
Here is Columbia Professor Dr. Marc Lamont Hill’s response to O’Reilly’s tirade. He calls him out for his hypocrisy by bringing up a statement he said about another high profile death, and he corrects O’Reilly when he tries to play the “he sleeps with little boys” card.
I’ll give O’Reilly credit where it’s deserved: he acknowledged that MJ was acquitted, and he said he would respect the jury’s decision. He claimed that he never publicly proclaimed that MJ was guilty, unlike many of his peers, and for that I give him kudos. But his rationale is flawed because when he says that he believes MJ is innocent merely because the jury says he’s innocent, then that opens up a line of attack that MJ haters love to use, and we’ve all heard it a million times: “Well, OJ Simpson was acquitted too!” And think about this: what if Ray Hultman and Eleanor Cook had actually released that “tell-all” book proclaiming that MJ was guilty? What would O’Reilly say then? “Well, those two jurors now say MJ is guilty, therefore he really was guilty!” This is why MJ fans need to know all of the facts of the case, and not rely solely on the fact that he was acquitted.
But Dr. Hill’s rebuttal was mild compared to comedian Steve Harvey’s rebuttal! Harvey was a close friend and staunch supporter of MJ, and he didn’t hold back in his criticisms of O’Reilly! Here’s part 1:
Here’s part 2, where he blasts O’Reilly for bashing liberals and defending hypocrite conservatives who also have problems in their personal lives. I’m sure he would have reminded everyone of O’Reilly’s sexual harassment lawsuit if it had crossed his mind!
Here’s part one of the “real deal” on MJ, according to O’Reilly and his cronies, including one of MJ’s former financial advisors. The point of this segment was to paint the picture of MJ as being an out of control spending freak (similar to what Bashir did in his documentary) who couldn’t take care of himself or his kids. To top it off, the lady implies that Katherine Jackson was a bad mother will instill the same “values” in his three kids as she instilled in MJ.
Of course O’Reilly didn’t bother to mention all of MJ’s philanthropic efforts, which are compiled here for your convenience!
And while we’re on the topic of MJ’s finances, everyone loves to talk about how much debt he was in. But regardless of his financial issues, one thing that MJ can proudly boast about is the fact that he was NEVER investigated by the IRS for tax evasion or fraud! MJ always made sure his taxes were squared away! This is a rarity for someone with so much money, since there are so many wealthy people who deliberately cheat on their taxes, like Wesley Snipes (who co-starred with MJ in the “Bad” video). He was recently sentenced to three years in prison for failure to pay taxes for several years.
Here’s part two, where his “Culture Warriors” debate the media coverage. The behavior and condescending attitude of the “journalists” in this segment is despicable. One of them, Juliet Huddy, said that the media is being too nice to MJ’s legacy and should be more objective, but then she goes on to call him a freak who was “addicted to plastic surgery”! How you can you be “fair and balanced” when you’re mocking the person that you’re reporting on??! I bet if she had been alive when slaves (and subsequently, freed blacks) afflicted with vitiligo were advertised as “freaks” in circuses for the public’s entertainment, she would have been there front and center laughing at them too! Here is a video that further compares the horrendous treatment of vitiligo afflicted slaves & free blacks to MJ:
It’s disappointing that O’reilly didn’t chastise her for using the term “freak” because, as someone who lobbies for stiffer sentences for child molesters, he should know firsthand that one’s appearance is IRRELEVANT in determining their thereat to children! And of course, Huddy played the “he sleeps with little boys” card, which is the Ace of Spades for MJ haters everywhere! She also added in the most overused and worthless legal analogy every made: “OJ Simpson was acquitted too!” (For an intriguing analysis of the prejudice that permeates the people who make this ridiculous argument, please read this article!) The other journalist, Gretchen Carlson, had to remind everyone of the 1994 settlement and use it as a sign of guilt, and that idiotic comment is one of my motivations for writing this piece in the first place! I just don’t understand MJ haters! They say he paid the settlement to avoid the civil trial because he was guilty, yet when he goes to criminal trial and is acquitted, his celebrity got him off. MJ can’t catch a break with these people!
Surprisingly, one thing that Huddy didn’t bring up is MJ’s marriages. I’m sure if she was asked, she would have gleefully said that they were both shams. Well, here’s some dirt on Huddy: she’s in the process of divorcing her third husband after only four months of marriage!! I wonder if her “marriages” were shams.