Uncovering O'Reilly in book, lawsuit

Contrasting pictures of embattled TV host

October 16, 2004|By Rob Hiaasen | Rob Hiaasen,SUN STAFF

He filed, she filed, he wrote a children's book.

"Here's a big word for today: dehumanization," writes Bill O'Reilly in his new advice book, The O'Reilly Factor for Kids. "When you are interested in someone only on the basis of physique, you're dehumanizing him or her, seeing that person only as an attractive object.

"If you are doing that, remember, good sex occurs between two human beings, not between two objects."

The timing of the release of O'Reilly's children's book is awkward at best. O'Reilly is host of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, which attracts an estimated 2.5 million viewers nightly. What's attracting even more attention to the popular and outspoken O'Reilly today, though, is a $60 million sexual harassment suit filed against him by a producer on his show.

Andrea Mackris, 33, charged that O'Reilly repeatedly pressured her to engage in phone sex and frightened her with lewd "monologues." The salacious details of her lawsuit quickly made the Internet rounds, and one of the nation's most popular cable news hosts became popular news.

O'Reilly and Fox News filed a pre-emptive lawsuit Wednesday accusing Mackris and her attorney of attempting to extort $60 million from him. Both parties have taken their cases to the airwaves: Mackris on ABC's Good Morning America, O'Reilly on his own show and Live with Regis and Kelly.

O'Reilly, 55 and married, was on Live with Regis and Kelly to promote his advice book for children but instead had to address the sexual harassment charge.

Released last month, the 188-page book offers children advice on how to deal with subjects such as bullies, divorce, smoking, drugs, music, TV ... and sex. In the book, each chapter ends with O'Reilly's own experiences.

Given the nature of the lawsuit, it's difficult not to contrast his advice to children and Mackris' charges against him.

He wrote: "I didn't have sex until I was twenty years old! Can you believe it? I was kind of a shy guy around girls, and I had absolutely no `moves.'"

She wrote: Among other accusations, O'Reilly described to her a Caribbean fantasy. "Well, if I took you down there then I'd want to take a shower with you right away, that would be the first thing I'd do."

He wrote: "Here's another smart thing to consider. Whatever you do, don't give the details to your friends. That is a betrayal of trust. I don't care if it was the best sex in your life."

She wrote: O'Reilly in 2003 regaled her and her friend over dinner "with stories concerning the loss of his virginity to a girl in a car at JFK, two `really wild' Scandinavian airline stewardesses ... and a `girl' at a sex show in Thailand who had shown him things in the backroom that `blew his mind.'"

He wrote: "I am going to tell you to look for love, though. For most of us, it's a lengthy search, but the challenge is fun. Some people think that's why we're here. Maybe so."

She wrote: Over dinner in 2002, Mackris says, O'Reilly advised her to avoid contact with her ex-fiance and to "pick up 23-year-old men in bars" and to "meet men with credentials" and to spend the next year doing what she likes "without thinking about the consequences."

He wrote: "Are you surprised by my thoughts on the subject? Did you think that O'Reilly would tell you sex is off-limits?"

She wrote: O'Reilly advised that she should just use a "vibrator to blow off steam ... `What, you've got a vibrator, don't you? Every girl does.' "

He wrote: "And guys, if you exploit a girl, it will come back to get you. That's called `karma.' And don't allow yourself to be exploited by a troubled partner ... "

She wrote: O'Reilly became threatening when reminded he had bragged of his sexual exploits. "If any woman ever breathed a word, I'll make her pay so dearly that she'll wish she'd never been born," she quoted him as saying.

While Regis and Kelly were probably not the only talkers who were interested in having O'Reilly on their show to promote his book, they may be the last ones he visits with, for now.

"Because of the intense media scrutiny Mr. O'Reilly is currently facing, he and HarperCollins have jointly decided to postpone the final media interviews," said a statement released yesterday by the publishing house.

"We wish him well during this difficult time."

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