Friday, March 13, 2009

My open letter to - and final words on - Bill O'Reilly.

The petition to have the It Happened To Alexa foundation withdraw its invitation to Bill O'Reilly started out seeking 10,000 signatures. The engagement is only 6 days away, and the goal has now been lowered to 2,000. As of my last check, it hadn't even broken a thousand names.


So I went to IMDb, planning to post a thread in O'Reilly's message boards with a link to said petition, and wouldn't you know it? His profile is up and running, but the message board dedicated to him is marked "Section Closed".

Next step: the man's own website. Apparently you have to pay to become a premium member if you wish to use the "Contact Bill" form. I'm not even willing to pay extra on the cable bill to get FOX News, so I'm sure as hell not going to give a dime to talk to him in cyberspace.

Final step, then: I found his email address, and I wrote the most restrained, polite message I could manage without gagging. You catch more flies with honey, after all, and I don't think my message would hold much water if I was simply being one of those screechy bitches our friend Billy seems to loathe so very much. Instead, I polished a few paragraphs and hit 'send'. Chances are it will make no difference whatsoever. Few things do when it comes to people like him. But at least I can say I did it.

---Original Message---
Bill O'Reilly
The "It Happened To Alexa" Hullaballoo

Mr. O'Reilly -

Surely you've received a mountain of mail about your upcoming talk at the "It Happened To Alexa" luncheon, and the petition asking for your withdrawal. I'll keep mine as short as I can.

Please don't speak at the engagement.

I realize that part of being an on-air personality is putting across what is often a more extreme and exaggerated version of yourself; perhaps the many comments you've made that lead the public to believe that you're a misogynist, among other things, is a direct result of those exaggerations. But I will say this: I was sexually assaulted a few months ago (and no, I don't expect you to care; maybe it would make a difference if you knew that I was wearing medical scrubs at the time, and was alone inside the building in which I worked, and was not in any way making a target of myself the way you said Jennifer Moore did...?), and when I tried to imagine sitting at a luncheon and listening to you speak about rape survival, I felt ill. I couldn't handle hearing a man who has been quoted more than once saying things that amount to "s/he deserved it" or "s/he brought in on him/herself" telling me that he's on my side.

I ask you, Mr. O'Reilly, to please simply consider what your television audience has seen and heard from you, and then think about what the rape survivors at this luncheon will be feeling when you take the microphone and do an about-face (and lie to them?) by saying women's rights matter to you. Please don't make any of those women feel even more belittled and guilty and humiliated than they already do. I can only assume that your reason for never apologizing for some of the more truly upsetting remarks is that you believe you are right, and that there are times and places wherein assault is justifiable. It won't matter what you say on March 19th; what you've said in the past is already out there, and you can't unring that bell.

I appeal to your obviously sizable intellect, and whatever humanity you may have behind your on-air blustering, to reconsider this speaking engagement. Your withdrawal from it would speak volumes about whether or not you actually DO care about how a woman who has been raped or otherwise assaulted should feel. There are so many topics about which you are the perfect man to speak...but the degradation and abuse of women is not one of them.

I'll never know, as we no longer get FOX News here without paying a small fortune for it, but if you did read this far, I thank you.

~Heather xxxxxx
Toronto, ON, Canada

You have the link to the petition. You can try your luck at IMDb, if you like ( ). Now you have his email address, too.

Six days left. Never say never.

And that's the last I have to say about it.

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