Bill O’Reilly got in a heated argument with hip-hop pioneer Russell Simmons Wednesday night over the recent decisions by grand juries in the United States not to indict white police officers for the killings of unarmed black men.
Following the cases of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner in New York City, Simmons has spoken out to condemn the grand jury verdicts, comparing them to “lightning striking the black community over and over and over again.”
O’Reilly, however, felt Simmons was missing the point.
“The bigger issue that you are not acknowledging is that the astronomical crime rate among young black men — violent crime — drives suspicion and hostility,” O’Reilly said. “You won’t acknowledge it, Russell. You won’t acknowledge it.”
The two went on to battle over whether selling drugs is considered a violent crime, or rather, whether selling drugs is what leads to violence in black communities. Simmons ultimately attributed the violence to the prison industrial complex.
“You are so desperately wrong it pains me to talk to you,” O’Reilly snapped.
“I feel the same way about you, Bill,” Simmons fired back.
“The crime rate is driven by the dissolution of the family,” O’Reilly argued. “No supervision, kids with no fathers — the black neighborhoods are devastated by the drug gangs who prey upon their own. That’s the problem!”
O’Reilly’s comments were all too reminiscent of his infamous race rant in August, when he claimed that “the reason there is so much violence and chaos in the black precincts is the disintegration of the African-American family,” referring to thugs as “scum.”
The interview brought us back to O’Reilly’s conversation with Simmons in March, when the Fox News host expressed his deep concern that the sexual content featured in Beyonce’s music videos would lead to unwanted teenage pregnancies and “fractured families.”