Bombastic Fox News personality Bill O’Reilly has returned to his old muckraking ways with an unprovoked attack on Beyoncé and her latest music video.
The famously right-wing host labeled Beyoncé’s video for the song Partition as “exploitative garbage” and suggests it will encourage pregnancy among teen African-American females.
Yep, that sounds like the Bill O’Reilly of old.
In the steamy video for Partition, one of the songs from Beyoncé’s best-selling self-titled album, the singer wears a thong and bikini top as she seemingly has sex in the backseat of a limousine. She also bumps and grinds in a strip club to gain the attention of her husband, played by her real-life spouse, rap star Jay Z.
The song includes the X-rated lyrics, “Driver roll up the partition please/I don’t need you seeing Yonce on her knees” and a graphic reference to Monica Lewinsky.
All of which naturally did not sit well with O’Reilly, the unofficial spokesperson for American core values.
On Monday’s edition of The O’Reilly Factor, the lead guest was rap mogul Russell Simmons, ostensibly there to discuss his new book Success Through Stillness: Meditation Made Simple.
But instead of discussing the book, O’Reilly began setting up his soapbox with the comment, “As you know, I’ve been very critical of harmful entertainment marketed to largely unsupervised children…”
Which somehow segued to Beyoncé. O’Reilly dubbed her performance at the Super Bowl as “brilliant,” and then launched into a scathing diatribe on the Partition video, which he said “glorifies having sex in the back of a limousine.”
According to the 64-year-old O’Reilly, “Teenage girls look up to Beyoncé, particularly girls of colour. She’s an idol to them. Why on earth would this woman do that?”
Simmons attempted to answer the host’s question, but O’Reilly was on a roll. “Why would she do it when she knows the devastation that unwanted pregnancies – and fractured families … why would Beyoncé do that?”
O’Reilly added that she “has an obligation to protect children” and not release “exploitative garbage.”
Simmons took advantage of O’Reilly catching his breath to interject with, “Bill, if you think that art that comes out of a community is the cause of the struggle…”
But he was cut off by O’Reilly, who interrupted with, “That’s art?”
To his credit, Simmons attempted to keep the discussion on a civilized level, and responded calmly with, “Yes, absolutely.”
To which O’Reilly, now getting louder with each new sentence, shouted, “Beyoncé in the back of a limo having sex and referencing Monica Lewinsky is art?”
Simmons countered with, “She’s a brilliant artist and she’s not only appreciated by people of colour. As you know, she’s really one of the top artists in the world to people of every colour.”
Added Simmons: “The artist’s job throughout history has been to tell the same things that people are inspired by … so when an artist expresses something that is sexual in music, it’s a reflection of our reality.”
O’Reilly dropped the subject for a few minutes, but revisited the well a few minutes later by suggesting that Jay Z and his friend Kanye West were guilty of influencing youth in a negative manner.
“You have to attack the fundamental disease if you want to cure it,” said O’Reilly, by now sounding like an evangelical TV preacher. “You’re going to have to get people like Jay Z, Kanye West – all these gangsta rappers – to knock it off.”
Memo to Bill O’Reilly: It’s entirely likely neither Beyoncé or her fans much care what you think about her music. And it’s never appropriate for an old white man to use the phrase “gangsta rapper” in a sentence.