Sean Hannity Urges Bill O’Reilly to ‘Go Back on Fox… Take the Number One Slot’
Current top-rated primetime Fox News host Sean Hannity interviewed the former top-rated primetime Fox News host Bill O’Reilly on his radio show and urged the latter return to his home network, more than two-and-a-half years after O’Reilly was forced out due to the revelation of massive payouts to settle sexual harassment lawsuits.
Hannity’s comments on his Tuesday radio interview were first picked up by the liberal media watchdog group Media Matters.
O’Reilly’s firing was a seminal moment in the #MeToo movement and was triggered by Pulitzer Prize-winning reporting by the New York Times, which reported at least six sexual harassment settlement agreements between Fox and accusers of O’Reilly, including one for a whopping $32 million in January 2017. Even more surprising, the Times found that Fox News was aware of the sexual harassment claims against O’Reilly when it granted him a new, four-year $25-million-a-year extension one month later. O’Reilly has consistently denied the harassment allegations.
Under the helm of former CEO Roger Ailes, Fox News faced multiple charges and lawsuits alleging it was a hostile workplace for women. Ailes himself was forced out in 2016 when numerous women at the network, including high-profile stars like Gretchen Carlson, came forward to accuse Ailes of harassment and retaliation.
Hannity, however, did not seem concerned in the least about dredging up all this history and the signal he sent by calling on O’Reilly to return. Instead, he focused on O’Reilly’s interview with President Donald Trump and commiserated with the former Fox News star about all the “punishment” that Trump, who has been accused of sexual harassment or assault by more than 20 different women, must absorb.
“The other thing I did in the interview was I made it a little personal,” O’Reilly explained. I said you know, you — you’re taking more attack and vitriol than any other president with the exception of Abraham Lincoln.”
“I have never seen a human being able to absorb more punishment than Donald Trump,” O’Reilly added.
“So true, it’s unbelievable,” Hannity agreed.
“You and I, we can identify because we’ve been attacked for more than 20 years, each of us has,” O’Reilly said.
“Twenty four to be exact,” Hannity corrected. “By the way, I keep offering you, go back on Fox, and…”
“Yeah and why do I want to do that?” O’Reilly cut in to say. “So I can have security guards go with me everywhere, like I used to?”
“No, so that you take the number one slot,” Hannity replied, seemingly offering O’Reilly his old 8:00pm primetime slot, currently occupied by Tucker Carlson. “I can tell you it’s easier being number two because we’ll end the — we’ll end the year again number one in all of cable, and with that comes all the crap associated with it.”
“You bet” O’Reilly said, “but your listeners should understand there is a price to pay for being a traditional conservative American in this country.”
Hannity has teased O’Reilly on returning to Fox News before — as recently as this summer.
Listen to the audio above, via The Sean Hannity Show.
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