I don't have a lot of faith in what petitions can do, really. Life is not just one big Erin Brockovich lovefest. But every so often I'll see something that makes me practically erupt with rage, and I feel like I'm better off just sharing the damn thing, whether it has any effect or not.
This time it's Bill O'Reilly who's made me feel homicidal. Not that he usually doesn't anyway, just by existing. But women who've been victims of sexual assault - or, hell, just PEOPLE in general - need to know about this disgusting error in judgment (that's putting it kindly) and should say something about it.
O'Reilly has been invited to speak at The It Happened To Alexa fundraiser, which, if you didn't know, is a foundation built to raise awareness about rape and to offer support and resources to victims of sexual assault. I can think of a few men who might be worse choices, but...not many.
I'm borrowing liberally from my friend Rachel's note about this in order to give background to why this bastard doesn't deserve to have an oxygen supply, let alone have the opportunity to listen to himself talk in the presence of the very people upon whom he likes to prey:
Bill O'Reilly is scheduled to speak at a fundraising luncheon for the rape survivors advocacy group It Happened To Alexa Foundation at the Ritz Carlton in Manalapan, Florida, on March 19th, 2009. This is, simply, outrageous.
According to its website, the purpose of the It Happened to Alexa Foundation is to "help support rape survivors through the trauma of the criminal trial, in the hopes that more survivors will go through with the prosecution in order to put these perpetrators behind bars...[and to] assist rape victims families with travel expenses during the litigation process."
A laudable mission, indeed. But not only has O'Reilly been accused of sexual harassment at work (settling out of court and paying his accuser a multi-million dollar sum); he also has a history of making blame-the-victim comments about sexual assault, including the following:
"These two girls come in from the suburbs and they get bombed, and their car is towed because they're moronic girls and, you know, they don't have a car. So they're standing there in the middle of the night with no car. And then they separate because they're drunk...
"Now Moore, Jennifer Moore...She was 5-foot-2, 105 pounds, wearing a miniskirt and a halter top with a bare midriff... So every predator in the world is gonna pick that up at two in the morning. She's walking by herself on the West Side Highway, and she gets picked up by a thug... And the thug takes her over to New Jersey in the cab and kills her and rapes her and does all these terrible things to her..." (Bill O'Reilly, The Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly, 8/2/06)
"And the question is, why didn't [11-year-old Shawn Hornbeck, kidnapped, held and raped for 4 years] escape when he could have?...The Stockholm syndrome thing, I don't buy it...The situation here for this kid looks to me to be a lot more fun than what he had under his old parents. He didn't have to go to school. He could run around and do whatever he wanted...I think when it all comes down, what's going to happen is, there was an element here that this kid liked about his circumstances." (Bill O'Reilly, Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, 1/15/07)
We can only presume that the board of the It Happened to Alexa Foundation were unaware of O'Reilly's history when they extended the invitation to him. But unfortunately, all objections to O'Reilly's appearance since then have been met with a polite rebuttal.
We consider it wholly inappropriate that Bill O'Reilly should be given the opportunity to promote his new book by associating himself with an organization that does such laudable work on behalf of rape victims.
Please join us in asking the It Happened to Alexa Foundation to withdraw their invitation to Bill O'Reilly and replace him with another, more appropriate, speaker.
Do whatever you feel is right. Sign the petition, don't sign it, watch his show, turn it off, buy his books, burn them, whatever. I've done what I feel is right, and that is to bring this to the attention of my friends and readers. People like Bill O'Reilly do not deserve to have their crimes and misdemeanours swept under the carpet; if a petition can make someone's life a little more difficult - be it his or that of the moron(s) who chose him as a speaker - then it was worth the ten seconds it took to type in my info and hit 'enter'.
**AN ASIDE:** I know I don't update this blog often; I do, however, provide daily links of all types (including the above-mentioned) via my Twitter account, so please feel free to follow me there, too.
***ETA:*** A kind commenter added this additional link for those looking for more background about why O'Reilly is such a heinous choice for this engagement: "O’Reilly Should Apologize to Rape Survivors; Gets Worst Person for Four Straight Nights". Thank you, C.
If you think others would get something out of reading this, PLEASE pass it along, via email, Facebook, Digg or any other means. As I so often say, every little bit helps.