Bill O'Reilly returned to Fox News Tuesday night for an interview with Sean Hannity in order to promote his new book — and the internet isn't happy about it. It was O'Reilly's first time back at Fox News since being fired in April 2017 after a New York Times report revealed that he, Fox News, and its parent company 21st Century Fox paid about $13 million over several years to settle claims of sexual harassment against the TV anchor.
O'Reilly denies the allegations against him and has said, "Just like other prominent and controversial people, I am vulnerable to lawsuits from individuals who want me to pay them to avoid negative publicity."
At least five women have filed claims against O'Reilly, according to the Times, including psychologist and former Fox News guest Wendy Walsh. She told ABC in April that O'Reilly "became hostile" after she refused his invitation to go back to his hotel suite when the two met for dinner to discuss business. When asked about O'Reilly's recent appearance on Hannity's show, Walsh told CNN, "That's how it works at the boy's club."
Even Fox employees are questioning their company's decision to let O'Reilly back on the air to promote his book, Killing England. "I question how serious Fox News considers the offenses for which he was fired if they are now giving him a platform to sell his book," a senior Fox News employee reportedly told CNN. "Talk about mixed messages."
In addition to his alleged victims and Fox employees, a lot of people on the internet have a lot of strong opinions about seeing O'Reilly return to Fox. Here are some of the reactions from Twitter.
CNN Anchor Calls Sexism
CNN host Brian Stelter pointed out the irony in O'Reilly being invited back to Fox to promote his book, but not former Fox & Friends co-host Gretchen Carlson, who accused the network's late CEO Roger Ailes of sexual harassment in July 2016.
"Beating" & "Slaughtering" Rachel Maddow
Founder of Think Progress, Judd Legum, called O'Reilly out for using violent and sexist language to describe Hannity beating MSNBC host Rachel Maddow in ratings, referring to her as "that woman" rather than by her name.
"I want to tell everybody, last night Hannity kicked MSNBC’s butt," O'Reilly said. "Didn’t beat that woman. Didn’t... didn’t eke by. Slaughtered her."
Meanwhile, Other Networks Reported News
While O'Reilly and Hannity were bashing Maddow, she was busy interviewing San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz about the devastation in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria.
O'Reilly Uses Vets To Bash NFL
During the segment, Hannity condemned NFL players who are choosing to take a knee during the national anthem to draw attention to the Black Lives Matter movement and police brutality in America. "Can you imagine putting your life on the line," he said, "and seeing your American players disrespect the country and the flag?"
Retired Col. Morris Davis criticized him for using vets to make his case, considering many support the "take a knee" protest.
Many Empathized With The Women At Fox
"Imagine what the women of Fox News felt when he walked back in," Head of Harvard's Nieman Foundation, Ann Marie Lipinski, tweeted.
"Can't Make This Stuff Up!"
"So, you’re on with O’Reilly?" tweeted pastor and talk show host Bishop Talbert Swan. "Nothing like
@FoxNews firing a sex abuser but having him back on for an interview. Can’t make this stuff up!"
Media Matters Strikes Back
After O'Reilly and Hannity complained about the "totalitarians" at Media Matters for America, a progressive news and research site, the organization's president, Angelo Carusone, responded. "We hold them accountable," he wrote.
Others Agreed With O'Reilly's Views
Some people agreed with O'Reilly's view on the "take a knee" protests. He, like Donald Trump, thinks that they are about the president, and not police brutality.
Some Were Glad O'Reilly's Back
Editor-in-chief of conservative lifestyle site LifeZette, Laura Ingraham, was excited about O'Reilly's return. "Sorry, other cable outlets," she tweeted, "
@hannity wins again...tonight with @billoreilly & @michellemalkin."
But Most People Didn't Want To Hear It
While there were some mixed reviews of O'Reilly's appearance, it's important to remember that he was fired for allegedly repeatedly sexually harassing women at work, and by letting him back on the air to promote his book, Fox is sending the message that this is OK.