Bill O’Reilly returned to Fox with a vengeance on Tuesday night.
The ousted TV host spoke for 20 minutes on his friend Sean Hannity’s show where the pair discussed a range of topics including the NFL protests against President Trump and the ‘corrupt’ mainstream media.
O’Reilly briefly addressed his downfall earlier this year and said he should have ‘fought back’ when advertisers began pulling out of The O’Reilly Factor as sexual harassment claims against him mounted.
He insisted he has not let the scandal get the better of him nor does he miss his prime time spot, gloating that after being fired by Rupert Murdoch and his sons in April, he spent a blissful summer ‘on the ocean’.
At times he overpowered his host, reciting lengthy monologues while peering down the barrel of the camera while Hannity, no longer in the frame, joked: ‘He’s taking over!’
‘I’m here, I’m alive,’ O’Reilly joked at the start of his appearance.
Making no mention of the fact that he was fired, the pair pondered O’Reilly’s possible return to the airwaves – something the 68-year-old said he would have to consider carefully being accepting.
Bill O’Reilly appeared on Hannity on Tuesday night in what was his first appearance on Fox since he was fired in April
‘In the 20 years and 6 months that I worked for FNC (Fox News Corporation), I was attacked every day of my life. Every day,’ he said somberly.
Though his Fox career was ‘fabulous’, he said he would have to think again before returning to any major network.
‘Who knows what I’m going to do. I enjoyed my summer off. The vitriol that you have to face and I have to face, I gotta evaluate it.’
He offered a brief glimpse of remorse – not over the sexual harassment he is accused of – but for not retaliating when advertisers began shying away from him.
It was during a discussion on the ‘evil, far left’ which they said pushed propaganda to get ‘prominent, conservative voices’ off the air.
Hannity, who lashed out when his own advertisers began withdrawing their support until viewers threatened to boycott the businesses behind them, said he’d seen it ‘work’.
His comment was framed as an apologetic nod to O’Reilly’s downfall at Fox earlier this year when, one by one, advertisers pulled out of his show as allegations that he had sexually harassed female colleagues and show guests mounted.
Turning to the camera on Tuesday, as was his signature on his own show, O’Reilly took the reins.
The pair spoke for 20 minutes about a range of issues including the NFL protests against President Trump – something O’Reilly described as ‘mob mentality’
Sean Hannity pleaded with his guest: ‘Will you come back?’ and asked him if he missed ‘the daily grind’, making no mention of the fact that it was not his choice to leave the network in the first place
‘Well, now. Hannity and I have discussed this off-camera. We’re gonna fight back. You, I have to give you, all the credit in the world. You fought back when they came after you last spring. I didn’t and I should have,’ he said.
Earlier, almost immediately after being welcomed on to the show, he launched almost immediately into the NFL debate on players taking a knee during the National Anthem, a phenomenon which O’Reilly chalked down to ‘mob mentality’.
‘It’s a mob mentality, it is an anti-Trump demonstration. That’s what its morphed into.’
He argued that players were uninformed and that they were grouping together in what he described as ‘pack dissent’ in their protest of President Trump’s sudden declaration last week that than any NFL or major league athlete who took a knee during the National Anthem or snubbed the country ought to be fired.
‘Nobody is saying the players don’t have a right to their opinion about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
‘They do, you do. If you wanna feel America is an evil country where white supremacists stalk innocent blacks, if you want to believe it then you’re free to believe it but it’s not true.
O’Reilly, 68, was fired in April after 20 years with Fox. His ousting came after a string of sexual harassment claims against him – some of which he had settled in court – became public. He is pictured in a promotional image for his hit show The O’Reilly Factor
‘So there is informed dissent and pack dissent. That’s what we are in to now. “He says one thing, I say another.’ And the league owners have lost control of it.'”
O’Reilly shared his view that the players were being ‘used’ by ‘evil, far left agents’ who he believes want to do away with the constitution because it was written by slave owners.
‘They’re don’t want capitalism. They don’t want the electoral college. They don’t want white people generally calling the shots so they have to mobilize minority Americans to be angry,’ he said.
Later, he moved on to talk about the ‘dangerous’ request from some Americans to have statues of Confederate figures removed from towns across the country, and said that while slavery was the nation’s ‘flaw’, figures like Thomas Jefferson and George Washington also won freedom.
In a plea to the ‘American people’, he said: ‘You have to go to stop this madness and say “Yes I know who Thomas Jefferon is and George Washington is. And yes they were slave holders but this is what they did to give Hannity and O’Reilly the freedom to talk to millions of people.
O’Reilly was in Vatican City meeting Pope Francis with his family when news of his firing emerged on April 19
‘This is how they suffered. They suffered! You should see the price they paid. The price George Washington paid for eight years of war against the King.
‘The one flaw was slaver but in the Civil War, hundreds of thousands of whites died to free the slaves so this isn’t a white supremacist nation.
‘This is the biggest pile of bull I’ve ever heard.’ The appearance was in part to plug his new book, Killing England.
O’Reilly was fired in April after a string of sexual harassment allegations – and the hefty cash settlements that were paid to settle them – became public knowledge.
Fox, which had stood by him throughout the accusations, changed its position as pressure to fire him rose.
Female Fox employees grew outraged that he had not been shown the door and, coupled with the growing claims against executive Roger Ailes, they voiced fears he company nurtured sexual harassment and protected predatory men.
Eventually, James and Lachlan Murdoch succeeded in persuading their father to fire O’Reilly.
The decision was announced while the host enjoyed an overseas trip with his family to Rome.
The decision was made by Rupert Murdoch at the behest of his two sons, Lachlan and James. Above, their signatures on the staff memo announcing O’Reilly’s departure