Former Fox News host Bill O'Reilly was a promoter of white nationalism says Rev. Al Sharpton, who was reacting O'Reilly's ouster from Fox News Wednesday amid a sexual harassment scandal.
During an interview on MSNBC, Sharpton, who has his own show on the network, discussed his contentious relationship with O'Reilly. Among the name calling and insults O'Reilly has flung at Sharpton over the years, the time he was called a "race hustler" was brought up, and host Chris Hayes asked if he though O'Reilly was a race hustler.
Sharpton said he wouldn't sink to name calling, but contended that O'Reilly "certainly promoted a very clear and in no way nuanced white nationalism, and saying he said the white establishment, like he was a spokesman for it."
He referred to one clip played moments earlier from Election Night 2012 in which O'Reilly said the "white establishment is now the minority." Sharpton said this statement was "in its own essence race-based. And he, I think, really felt that way in all that he expressed."
MSNBC played a number of clips showing O'Reilly's questionable comments about race, including one as recent as in the past few weeks, when he referred to Rep. Maxine Waters' hair as "James Brown wig."
Sharpton also talked about comments on racial stereotypes O'Reilly made in 2007 about a dinner he and Sharpton had together in Harlem, which came off as racist. Among the comments he made, O'Reilly spoke about the "primarily black patronship," and noted that there "wasn't any kind of craziness at all" during the dinner at the restaurant Sylvia's and that "there wasn't one person in Sylvia's who was screaming, 'M.F.-er, I want more iced tea.'" O'Reilly later shot back that his comments were not racist and taken out of context.
Still, Sharpton described those comments as being a "personal reflection of a night that he and I were arguing as you say he would often attack me."
He added that it showed O'Reilly perspective on race. "He became the spokesman for the right wing in this whole kind of going back to the pre-civil rights days in my judgment," Sharpton said.