In the midst of the furor over sexual harassment allegations against him and his reported $32 million sexual harassment claim settlement, former Fox anchor Bill O’Reilly used the death of former colleague Eric Bolling’s 19-year-old son to try to cajole reporters into a more sympathetic perspective regarding his sexual peccadilloes.
Speaking to The New York Times, O’Reilly warned, “I urge you to think about what you put in your newspaper. Eric Bolling’s son is dead. He’s dead, because of allegations made, in my opinion — and I know this to be true — against Mr. Bolling.”
As Emily Steel of The New York Times reported, Bolling, disturbed that O’Reilly would use the death of his son to further his personal agenda, fired back this salvo:
I believe it is beyond inappropriate for anyone to bring in the death of my son Eric Chase Bolling, just as Bill O’Reilly had wanted to shield his children from the allegations against him. I hope he will honor my request and avoid any future mentions of my son. My parting from Fox News was in no way connected to the tragic news of my son’s passing. The coroner has, in fact, indicated to us that they believe it was an accident. Unlike others who left Fox News amid public allegations and extensive investigations, I parted ways with Fox News in an amicable way and any reference to a firing is flatly wrong. I have been working on new collaborations which I will be announcing in the next few months.
The New York Daily News had reported that Eric Chase Bolling, a student at the University of Colorado-Boulder, was found dead within hours of the announcement that his father had left Fox News amid allegations of sexual harassment.
O’Reilly’s insensitive remarks, for which he later apologized, were met with scorn on Twitter: