A video clip of conservative media host Bill O’Reilly has gone viral as he takes criticism for apparently berating an airline employee, and seeming to threaten the man. Now O’Reilly says he was actually just displaying righteous anger, just like Jesus did when he threw the bankers out of the temple, and that the Bible supports his behavior.
First, watch the clip below if you haven’t seen it yet. A man identified as O’Reilly is speaking angrily to an airline employee, shaking his finger and declaring, “You’re going to find out.” Then he leans closer, apparently to see the employee’s nametag better, and can be heard saying “You’re lucky I don’t put my fist through it.”
On Sunday, former Fox host Bill O’Reilly threatened a JetBlue employee at JFK Airport after his flight to Turks & Caicos was delayed: “You f*cking scumbag! You’re gonna lose your job!” pic.twitter.com/30LFyNy2Yj
— Ron Filipkowski 🇺🇦 (@RonFilipkowski) April 19, 2022
As the video circulated around social media, O’Reilly was roundly criticized for attacking an airline employee during a time when COVID-19 makes the job especially stressful, when the employee in question would not have had the power to change departure times or shorten the pundit’s wait.
However, he responded to this criticism on his show, adding it as a “final thought of the day” at the end of Wednesday night’s episode. In his defense, he explained that he’d been waiting for hours, and referenced Jesus and the Bible to prove that “righteous anger” was an entirely appropriate reaction. If the video below doesn’t start at about 23 and a half minutes in, you can skip straight there for the relevant portion.
“I was angry, and I was foolish because I did not discipline my anger,” O’Reilly begins, but it’s not the beginning of an apology for his behavior. Instead, he continues, “I have an excuse! Seven hours!”
These JetBlue people wouldn’t tell us anything! I’m getting mad just thinking about it. So I demonstrated righteous anger. Some of you don’t believe in righteous anger. Well, read the Bible! Jesus himself!”
O’Reilly cuts to a self-promoting clip of his Killing Jesus movie, then explains that Jesus showed “righteous anger’ in kicking merchants out of the temple, overturning tables.
“The keyword is righteous! No, I could’ve overturned the JetBlue counter. I did not. But I was wrong. I did not contain my righteous anger. I wasn’t disciplined enough. I’ve got an excuse, but you know how excuses are. However, the concept of righteous anger is in the New Testament for a reason!”
It will be left to the viewer to decide whether the idea of Jesus showing “righteous anger” over a flight delay would look like this.
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Steph Bazzle reports on social issues and religion for Hill Reporter. She focuses on stories that speak to everyone's right to practice what they believe in and receive the support of their communities and government officials. You can reach her at Steph@HillReporter.com