Alexa got Bill O’Reilly to Speak at a fundraising event for Rape Victims. WTF?

4 03 2009

The It Happened to Alexa Foundation is having Bill O’Reilly speak on March 19th, at a luncheon at the Ritz Carlton in Florida. Without previous knowledge of O’Reilly’s past statements, it seems like a great thing that such a well-known figure is helping a foundation to raise money for its mission.

Unfortunately, choosing Bill O’Reilly was a HUGE mistake! I cannot believe that this foundation allowed this man to be chosen. He has in the past made very “controversial” (read: fucked up) remarks regarding victims of sexual assault. Obviously this man still has a lot to learn about the truth behind rape and sexual assault victims.

Example 1:  Jennifer Moore was an eighteen-year-old woman who was raped and murdered. On his radio show, he partially blamed Moore for being attacked saying she made “moronic” decisions that basically MADE her attack occur. He also said “She was 5-foot-2, 105 pounds, wearing a miniskirt and a halter top with a bare midriff. Now, again, there you go. So every predator in the world is gonna pick that up at 2 in the morning.”

O’Reilly committed my number one pet peeve about sexual assault and domestic violence: victim blaming. Since she was a small petite girl in clothing that showed her legs and midriff, she gave the “predators” out there a green light.

While I’m not denying the existence of risky behavior, at the end of the day the victim NEVER forces the attacker to do things to them. It is entirely in the attackers hands; it is THEIR decision whether they hurt another human being and break the law.

A year later, he continued to express very ignorant, offensive comments about another victim of abuse. Shawn Hornbeck was abducted at the age of 11 and held for four years. During his captivity, Hornbeck, too, was raped. O’Reilly discussed this shortly after his discovery. He said that he doesnt “buy the Stockholm syndrome thing” and that Hornbeck  simply must have enjoyed some parts of being kidnapped.

He has NOT apologized for either of these comments.

Should a man who obviously has great insensitivity to victims and survivors of sexual assault speak at a luncheon by a foundation whose mission is to “assist rape victims and their families by easing the financial burden they face while traveling to attend the criminal trial.”

I think the feminist movement is a group effort. Everyone who works toward equality and helping with women’s issues (I want to reiterate that not all survivors of sexual assault are women, but it is a predominantly woman issue) are not working alone. All of our decisions and actions intertwine and affect each other. It was a very poor decision that Alexa chose O’Reilly. I cannot be sure as to why they chose him–perhaps it is because he is so well-known? Is all the extra money they may get BECAUSE they chose him worth it, however?

I think the decision to choose O’Reilly despite his unapologetic insensitivity to survivors and victims does more harm than good. It is in a way saying that he does not have to be accountable for what he said.  Those remarks that he said would NEVER be said by a properly trained professional to a victim of sexual assault. The ends do not justify the means.

Any little bit we may do can help society to keep perpetrators of crime like domestic violence and rape unaccountable, i.e. defending and supporting someone who is abusive to their partner even thought you know what they’re doing is wrong.

edit:

I am now even more livid, because the Executive Director Ellen Augello issued a short public statement about the uproar: “Bill O’Reilly is still speaking at the fundraiser. We are aware aware of his comments. We don’t have any comment about it. I don’t feel as if it would be productive.”  ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? This defiance is grossly upsetting. Apparently one of the members of its advisory board is a FRIEND of O’Reilly.

It is upsetting because this is the only organization of its kind, but I hesitate to support a group that obviously only cares about the money it is bringing in and not its message.

If you find this choice of Bill O’Reilly as outrageous as I do, I strongly encourage yout to e-mail the Alexa Foundation at info@ithappenedtoalexa.org Or the Executive Director directly at augellos@verizon.net .  This is simply unacceptable.

Facebook Group in protest here.
Sign the petition here.


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5 responses

8 03 2009
Priscilla

The Bill O’Reilly thing has taken a really bizarre and ugly turn. According to this comment on Inside Cable News, the Director of the Foundation is describing those who are upset as Keith Olbermann “zealots.” (Keith gave O’Reilly several worst person awards last week) She also said (and again, we don’t know if this is really Augello) that she is “thrilled” to have O’Reilly as a speaker. Problem is that the alleged comment from Augello is sourced from a blog run by a guy (Johnny Dollar) who might be employed by Fox News as he is in the business of defending Fox at every turn. His blog spends a lot of time slamming News Hounds (a blog for which I write) because News Hounds dares to critique his favorite news network for its right wing propaganda which is not “fair and balanced.” He and his pals posted comments, in defense of O’Reilly, at the anti Olbermann blog, “Olbermann Watch.” Suffice to say, the comments were as insensitive as O’Reilly’s. Johnny Dollar (Mark Koldys) who runs the Fox loving website claims to be a former prosecutor – yet his comments about the victim (on the Olbermann Watch blog) are decidedly non prosecutorial. But even worse is that the POS from “Inside Cable News” slammed you. Thought you would want to know.

http://insidecablenews.wordpress.com/2009/03/05/in-depth-olbermann-vs-oreillyit-happened-to-alexa-foundation/

BTW, the petition is over 700 comments. Keep spreading the word. I contacted the Florida chapter of NOW in the hopes that they can spread the word in the Florida community so that Bill can be greeted by protestors when he arrives at the Ritz Carlton. Do you have any contacts in the Flordia student community because if so you might want to contact them. I do wish the Florida NOW would make a statement. Check out News Hounds for the ongoing saga the misognyisitic and hypocritical O’Reilly. Alex and I have posted several threads on this. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at my e-mail.

NewsHounds Priscilla

24 03 2009
More Charming Bill O’Reilly Behavior « The Gender Blender Blog

[…] mentioned in angryblkfeminist’s previous post, O’Reilly has also made other victim-blaming statements.  O’Reilly stated in reference […]

16 04 2009
Stevo

Augello is probably an incompetent trophy wife way over her head. The fact that the Alexa foundation even considered O\’reilly at all shows that their own \”zealotness\” and extreme republicanism clouded their view so much that they ar willing to destroy the foundation defending the O\’reilly gasbag.
Well done Ellen Augello!

16 04 2009
stevo

Ellen Augello is probably an incompetent trophy wife in way over her head.
The Alexa foundation has shot itself in the foot due to the “zealots” apparently running the show. The fact that they considered O’reilly the gasbag in the first place shows how their extreme republicanism clouded their judgment.
Augello’s statements on the matter just added fuel to the fire.
Well done Augello, your excuse that you are “modestly paid” is hilarious, get a job that pays your country club membership fees, boo hoo for you.

29 09 2009
david ferris

Are you all aware that Ellen Augello and the IHTA foundation has invited Bill (blame the victim) O’reilly back for their fundraiser this March?
Perhaps a picketing is in order. Lets get this on the evening news!
Save the Date!
Bill O’Reilly from “The O’Reilly Factor” will be the Keynote Speaker, Friday, March 26, 2010 at the Mar-a-Lago Club, Palm Beach Florida.

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