Kenyataan Media

Bill O’Reilly is outraged that the book ban law he supports caused his own books to be banned

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Former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly is angry that a Florida school district has removed two of his books from library shelves for review in an effort to comply with Gov. Ron DeSantis‘s (R) book-banning law.

The books in question are two history texts by O’Reilly and Martin Dugard, Killing Jesus: A History and Killing Reagan: The Violent Assault that Changed the Presidency.

“Things are getting crazy with book banning in #Florida,” the anti-LGBTQ+ O’Reilly recently posted on X. “Two Killing books under fire.” He added in another post on the same day, “Preposterous! We are investigating and are seeking comment from [Gov. DeSantis]. This will not stand.”

The books were at least temporarily removed from the shelves of the Escambia County School District, which has reportedly removed over 2800 books from library shelves as they undergo a review process that will determine if they are inappropriate for students, according to Popular Information. Even certain versions of the dictionary are currently among the books relegated to storage.

The district contends these texts could violate H.B. 1069, which DeSantis signed into law in May 2023.  

The law is an expansion of the state’s infamous Don’t Say Gay law. In addition to expanding the anti-LGBTQ+ law’s ban on discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity to all grade school levels, H.B. 1069 broadened school board oversight of library collections and empowered Florida parents to challenge any books in school libraries. It requires contested titles to be pulled from shelves for review and specifies that content that “depicts or describes sexual conduct” can be challenged.

Escambia County is known for its strict response to H.B. 1069, as well as for the antics of a certain English teacher, Vicki Baggett. Baggett has become notorious for her crusade to ban over 100 books from Escambia school libraries and submitted almost every single one of the 150 book challenges being reviewed by the district in 2023. Many of the challenged books are by Black authors or deal with LGBTQ+ topics.

O’Reilly – who was fired from Fox News in 2017 amid widespread allegations of sexual harassment – told Newsweek that when DeSantis signed the law, he “supported the theme because there was abuse going on in Florida,” but now that it has affected him, he thinks the law is being misused.

“There were far-left progressive people trying to impose an agenda on children, there’s no doubt about it,” he said. “And the state has an obligation to protect children. But the wording of the law was far too nebulous in Tallahassee.”

Despite expressing his belief that the wording needs to be “tightened up,” O’Reilly clarified that he still believes it’s okay to ban certain books.

“I want to emphasize the fact that there are abuses in certain school districts that harm children. There are materials that are inappropriate and those materials have to be specifically included in the law with language that is very specific. You can’t be throwing John Grisham under the bus, it’s absurd.”

He also threatened to “find out exactly who made the decisions to temporarily take [my books] out of the library in this country, I’m going to put their pictures up on television and on my website… and I’m going to ask them for a detailed explanation of why they did that.”

On X, many mocked O’Reilly for supporting these right-wing laws until they affected him personally.

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