In October of 2004, the words “loofa” and “falafel” were mainstreamed into our sexual vocabulary. To the shock of some, and to the entertainment of millions, religious right wingnut Bill O'Reilly was accused of sexually harassing coworker Andrea Mackris with explicit phone conversations that were allegedly taped. Besides the use of loofas and falafels as sex objects, Bill O’Reilly had also revealed homoerotic desires to use vibrators on himself, fantasies of explicit Caribbean vacations, and a desire for Ms. Mackris to perform oral sex on him, but not finish. He also revealed some disturbing news about what Fox News was planning to do to Al Franken. To Bill O’Reilly’s enemies, this news was God sent.
The reason people were fascinated with this story is the same reason they are fascinated with Rush Limbaugh’s drug use, Matt Drudge’s allegedly gay affairs, and the penisification of underage boys by anti-gay activist and idolized Republican Mark Foley: we love exposing hypocrites! Bill O’Reilly has used his highly rated program, The O’Reilly Factor, to criticize sexuality in the media. His favorite targets have been rapper Ludacris, Janet Jackson, porn stars, and all the other “immoral” Hollywood stars. The only Hollywood star whom he constantly praises (or at least used to praise) is Mel Gibson, the director of the anti-Semitic Passion of the Christ. The fact that Mel Gibson was going to turn Bill O’Reilly’s soft-porn epic Those Who Trespass into a movie certainly helped.
On October 28, 2004, O'Reilly and Mackris reached an out of court settlement, and dropped all charges against each other. It was widely rumored that O’Reilly paid Mackris close to ten million dollars to “shut up” and destroy the tapes. The fact that the story disappeared from the media soon afterwards remains a mystery that people should question.
If the media was as liberal as conservatives claim it to be, this case would not have disappeared so quickly. Did O’Reilly pay media outlets to “shut up” just as he did with Andrea Mackris? Was the media too afraid to go after O’Reilly, who is given almost the same status of Jesus Christ among right wing fundamentalists? Did O’Reilly’s lawyers stop the media from doing any more damage? The Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinsky scandal lasted years after the hearings, which backfired on conservatives. Dan Rather is still dogged by his mistakes which happened two and a half years ago. Even though Michael Jackson was acquitted of child molestation charges, the case still dogs him two years later. It seems quite odd that Bill O’Reilly’s matters suddenly “disappeared.”