Bill O’Reilly, the former Fox News personality who left the network after it was revealed that several women received financial settlements after claiming he harassed them, said that those who have died of coronavirus were ‘on their last legs anyway.’
O’Reilly, 70, appeared on former Fox News colleague Sean Hannity’s radio show on Wednesday to discuss the pandemic that has infected millions worldwide while killing tens of thousands in the United States and upending the economy.
‘I want life back to normal, can you fix that in a simple way?’ Hannity told O’Reilly during the discussion.
‘Oh man I wish I could, you know?’ O’Reilly responded.
‘Oh, me too.’
Bill O’Reilly, the former Fox News commentator, told Sean Hannity’s radio show on Wednesday that many of those who died from coronavirus were ‘on their last legs anyway.’ O’Reilly is seen center in New York in November 2019
O’Reilly then accused the ‘far left’ of ‘smearing’ him for the comments he made on Hannity’s show
O’Reilly said the ‘nuts objected’ when he pointed out that ‘the virus death rate for folks without preexisting conditions is below one percent’
O’Reilly then mentioned what he believes are positive developments, including revised estimates of the death count as well as the decision by Senator Bernie Sanders to end his presidential campaign.
‘But we’re making little steps,’ O’Reilly said.
He continued: ‘Bernie Sanders, you know – he’s gone, that’s really good for everybody.
‘The [US death] projections that you just mentioned are down to 60,000, I don’t think it will be that high. 13,000 dead now in the USA.
‘Many people who are dying, both here and around the world, were on their last legs anyway.
‘And I don’t want to sound callous about that,’ O’Reilly quickly added.
Hannity then remarked: ‘You’re gonna get — hold on, you’re going to get hammered for that.’
To which O’Reilly replied: ‘Well, I don’t care. I mean, a simple man tells the truth.’
‘You mean people that have underlying conditions and that have compromise immune systems, any virus would’ve…’ Hannity said, before O’Reilly cut in.
‘Yes,’ O’Reilly agreed.
‘And not only that, they were damaged.’
O’Reilly then argued that Spain and Italy – two countries who have been hit hard by the pandemic – saw higher death rates than the United States because of their government-run health care systems.
‘Somebody can break this to Bernie Sanders, number one, they have socialized medicine which is not nearly as good as our private system,’ O’Reilly said.
‘But number two, many more people smoke in Europe than here.’
‘And this ravages the lungs,’ Hannity said.
‘And they have an older population, too,’ Hannity said.
“Absolutely,’ O’Reilly said.
‘And they’re the ones that have been succumbing in the big numbers,’ Hannity added.
O’Reilly then said: ‘You’re going to see the Centers for Disease Control, at the end of all this, is going to say this percentage of people who died from the virus, also had other things that killed them.’
On his Twitter page, O’Reilly defended himself on Thursday while lashing out at his critics.
‘The pandemic is extremely deadly but not the Black Plague,’ the former Fox News host, who now has his own subscription site where viewers can pay for his commentary, tweeted.
‘Far-left wants chaos and carnage so President Trump will lose re-election.
‘They are not interested in facts and will try to punish people who provide perspective.’
O’Reilly on Wednesday tweeted: ‘More far left propaganda. The virus death rate for folks WITHOUT preexisting conditions is below one percent.
‘With health problems much, much higher.
‘I pointed that out and the nuts objected, also claiming the health systems in Italy and Spain are better than USA.
Hundreds of Americans under the age of 50 have died after contracting coronavirus, according to The Washington Post.
Out of more than 14,800 deaths nationwide, at least 759 were below the age of 50, according to an analysis by the Post.
The CDC on Wednesday released data showing that just over 25 per cent of people hospitalized with COVID-19 were under the age of 50.
Most of these cases were of patients who suffered from underlying conditions such as asthma, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
A small fraction of those cases involved people who had no underlying health issues.
O’Reilly’s comments sparked outraged on Twitter.
Molly Jong-Fast, a journalist, called him a ‘f*****g ghoul.’
Tim Wise tweeted: ‘Bill O’Reilly says many COVID victims were “on their last legs” anyway.
‘First, how ghoulish for a “pro-life,” “all lives matter” guy, and Second, its a good time to remember that Bill O’Reilly once choked & dragged his wife down the stairs bc he’s a violent a*****e…’
In May 2017, it was learned that O’Reilly’s ex-wife claimed in an affidavit filed during the couple’s divorce proceedings that the disgraced host physically assaulted her when she found him having phone sex.
Maureen McPhilmy filed a notarized account of the incident in which she alleged that O’Reilly ‘flew into a fit of rage’ back in December 2009 when she found him in the middle of an intimate conversation with another person while in a partial state of undress in their bedroom.
She claimed in the court filing that soon after she walked in on O’Reilly, he slammed her against a wall in their bedroom before wrapping his arms around her body and dragging her around their $2.2million Long Island mansion in Manhasset.
The October 11, 2011 affidavit was submitted as an exhibit in O’Reilly’s recent fraud lawsuit against McPhilmy’s divorce attorney Michael Klar.
McPhilmy claimed in the affidavit that a one-foot hole was left in the bedroom wall as a result of O’Reilly throwing her across the room at the start of the alleged altercation.
She was then grabbed by O’Reilly, who wrapped his arms around her so she was unable to move and dragged her down the hallway of their home according to the affidavit.
Then, when they reached the staircase, McPhilmy claimed that O’Reilly began dragging her by the neck and he walked downstairs and through the kitchen, where he eventually let go when they ran into one of their security guards.
The affidavit stated that McPhilmy was screaming out in pain as she was being dragged and telling O’Reilly he was hurting her, but refused to file a report or speak with authorities when approached by the security guard who witnessed the alleged incident.
It was also stated in the filing that the man in the kitchen, who had been hired to protect the family, was caught off guard at the sight of O’Reilly naked from the waist down.
Two of the women who received settlements after accusing O’Reilly of harassment, Andrea Mackris and Juliet Ruddy, stated that they believed he was masturbating when he called them up for unwanted phone sex conversations.
O’Reilly successfully sued his wife in 2016, winning a $14million judgment after claiming she ‘made false representations and material omissions of existing fact … for the sole purpose of inducing Plaintiff to agree to a consensual divorce and to obtain money and real property to finance an existing extra-marital relationship.’
The couple separated in 2010 after 14 years of marriage and divorced a year later.
Those papers were filed just one month after McPhilmy was awarded custody of the children following a four-year court battle during which the couple’s daughter made her aforementioned claim about witnessing abuse in the home.
O’Reilly (seen above in May 2018) left Fox News in 2017 after a 20-year stint as host of The O’Reilly Factor
The former Fox News host denied this allegation, calling it ‘100 per cent false.’
He later added in a statement; ‘All allegations against me in these circumstances are 100 percent false.
I am going to respect the court-mandated confidentiality put in place to protect my children and will not comment any further.’
He has also previously denied the claims made by his ex-wife in relation to the altercation at their home, and the phone sex claims of his sexual harassment accusers.
John Lesinski, a Democratic congressional candidate from Virginia, tweeted: ‘Yesterday, Bill O’Reilly, a pundit, sexual harasser, & favorite of Trump’s, dismissed the 13k Americans dead from COVID-19 as “on their last legs anyway.”
‘He continued, “I don’t want to sound callous about that.”
‘Well, Bill: you’re wrong, you failed, and you’re a disgrace.’
Amy Siskind tweeted: ‘The comments from Fox News personalities past and present and other Trump allies meant to diminish the nearly 15,000 Americans we have lost already is the most despicable display of humanity I have ever seen.
‘These people have no souls or conscience.’
Emily Brandwin tweeted: ‘It’s been a while since we heard from Bill O’Reilly, wish we could’ve kept it that way.’
For more than 20 years, O’Reilly was one of Fox News Channel’s highest-rated anchors, hosting a nightly primetime show called ‘The O’Reilly Factor.’
In April 2017, The New York Times reported that five women who alleged inappropriate workplace misconduct by O’Reilly were paid a total of $13million in settlements.
Days later, Fox News officially cut ties with O’Reilly, who is said to have walked away with a $25million payout from the network.
It was a stunning development considering that The O’Reilly Factor was a critical cash engine for the network, generating some $326million a year in advertising revenue.
Later that year, it was reported that O’Reilly paid $32million to settle sex harassment claims brought by a sixth woman, former legal analyst Lis Wiehl.
O’Reilly was replaced with Tucker Carlson.
In 2016, Fox News was rocked by sex harassment allegations against its then-chairman, Roger Ailes.
In total, some 23 women came forward to allege misconduct by Ailes, including high-profile former personalities Gretchen Carlson and Megyn Kelly.
Ailes eventually left the network. In May 2017, he died of hemophilia.