UPDATED Sept. 28, 2007 – Fox News Channel host Bill O'Reilly says comments he made on the radio about Blacks were taken out of context. And he says anyone who was offended by what he said: "Would have to be looking to be offended."
O'Reilly raised eyebrows when he told his syndicated radio show he "couldn't get over" the fact that Black patrons at a famous Harlem restaurant didn't cut the fool the night he dined with civil rights activist Al Sharpton.
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"There was no difference between Sylvia’s restaurant and any other restaurant in New York City. I mean, it was exactly the same, even though it’s run by Blacks, primarily Black patronship," O’Reilly effused. “There wasn’t one person in Sylvia’s who was screaming, ‘M-Fer, I want more iced tea,’” O’Reilly said.
“You know, I mean, everybody was — it was like going into an Italian restaurant in an all-White suburb in the sense of people were sitting there, and they were ordering and having fun. And there wasn’t any kind of craziness at all.”
But the shock for Bill-O didn't stop there.
"I think Black Americans are starting to think more and more for themselves." O’Reilly’s ill-advised words became a topic of discussion on CNN Tuesday, which added to the conservative commentator’s outrage.
Speaking to The Associated Press, O'Reilly said theliberal group Media Matters "cherry-picked" remarks he made about racial attitudes. He says he had been telling his audience his grandmother and many other Whites feared Blacks because they didn't know any and because they had been swayed by violent images in Black culture.
Meanwhile, Sylvia's manager tells the New York Daily News O'Reilly's remarks were "insulting" and showed he has little knowledge of the black community.
Do you agree with O’Reilly that it could have been taken out of context? Click "Discuss Now," to the right, to post your comment.