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O’Reilly Rewrites History Re His Visit To Harlem Restaurant

Reported by Ellen - July 31, 2009 -

On last night’s (7/30/09), Factor, Bill O’Reilly didn’t quite remember his trip to the Harlem restaurant, Sylvia’s, the way he remembered it two years ago, right after he ate there. With video.

While discussing the role of race in – what else? – the Henry Gates arrest, O’Reilly complained about too many subjects having racial overtones. “Remember when I went up to Sylvia’s?” O’Reilly said to guest, Geraldo Rivera. “…And said, on my radio show, ‘You know, Sylvia’s is just like any other restaurant in America. It’s a nice place with nice people, I got served great,’ and then the left-wing turned it into I was denigrating, saying, ‘Oh, he didn’t think Sylvia’s was gonna be nice.’ …Vile, out of context piece of garbage.”

Actually, that’s not quite what O’Reilly said at the time. In September, 2007, News Hound chrish noted that O’Reilly said, “I couldn't get over the fact that there was no difference between Sylvia's restaurant and any other restaurant in New York City. I mean it was -- it was exactly the same, even though it's run by blacks, primarily black patronship; it was the same. And that's really what this society is all about, now... There wasn't one person in Sylvia's who was screaming, 'M-Fer, I want more iced tea.' 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."

Needless to say, those comments caused quite a stir at the time, as chrish's post described.

Like chrish, I agree that “O'Reilly was probably trying, as he claimed, to inform his audience that the rap and hip-hop cultures he excoriates are not representative of all black people, and used his own experience to make the point. But the way he said it revealed his deep-seated prejudices, whether he wants to admit it or not.”