Whether you love him or hate him, Bill O’Reilly has a knack for spouting controversial statements — a skill he displayed when he visited ABC’s “The View” on Thursday (October 14).
Sitting on the couch to promote his recently released book, Pinheads and Patriots: Where You Stand in the Age of Obama, the Fox News host weighed in on the polarizing debate over a proposed Muslim community center near New York City’s Ground Zero site, which would include a mosque, and ticked off “View” talking heads Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar in the process.
In his explanation of why President Obama’s approval ratings have plummeted, O’Reilly singled out the commander in chief’s response to the project, which opponents of the proposal charge overlooks the proximity to the devastating September 11 terrorist attacks.
“The mosque down here on 9/11 [territory] — that’s inappropriate. Sure, they have a right to do it … but it’s inappropriate because a lot of the 9/11 families, who I know, say, ’Look, we don’t want that. That shouldn’t be there,’ ” O’Reilly said. “There’s the president going, ’Well, they have a right to do it.’ ”
Behar countered with, “This is America,” to which O’Reilly responded, “Hold it, hold it. Listen to me because you’ll learn,” which sparked a chorus of “Whoa!” from the studio audience.
O’Reilly, Behar and Goldberg continued the heated back-and-forth, with O’Reilly stating that 70 percent of Americans were opposed to the center, a claim that sparked applause from the audience. Behar countered, “Where’s that poll?” while Goldberg said that singling out Muslims is unfair because 70 Muslim families lost loved ones in the attacks. O’Reilly continued to insist the project was inappropriate because “Muslims killed us on 9/11.” Goldberg got visibly upset and yelped “No!” followed by “That is such bullsh–!” which was censored by the network. The funnywoman said the “extremists,” not all Muslims, were responsible for 9/11, and joined Behar who left the stage saying, “I don’t want to sit here now. … I’m outraged … about what you just said.”
After the ladies walked backstage to the crowd’s cheers, “View” doyenne Barbara Walters blasted her co-hosts’ response to the argument.
“You have just seen what should not happen. We should be able to have discussions without washing our hands and screaming and walking offstage,” Walters said. “I love my colleagues [but] that should not have happened.”
However, she then addressed O’Reilly and said that characterizing an entire faith as one that fosters terrorism is problematic. “[9/11 was executed by] extremists,” Walters said. “You cannot take a whole religion and demean them because of what some [did].”
O’Reilly conceded: He amended his original argument and dubbed “Muslim extremists” responsible for the 9/11 tragedy.
Do you think Whoopi and Joy should have walked out on the show’s guest? Let us know in the comments.