Montel Williams Walks Off 'The O'Reilly Factor,' Says O'Reilly Is the "Coward"
O'Reilly called Williams "cowardly" for not appearing on his show, prompting Williams to post a response on social media to tell his side.
Montel Williams has some words for Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly after walking off The O’Reilly Factor before his scheduled interview Wednesday night. O’Reilly, who is hosting his show live from the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, called Williams' decision to not appear on the show “cowardly.’”
“He walked out in a huff. The producer tells me he was mad about some gay thing,” said O’Reilly on air to Fox News host Eric Bolling during The O'Reilly Factor. “It is his loss because he will never be on this program again. He’s not a man of his word, he’s unprofessional. Montel look, I’ve known you for a long time, but that is about as low as it gets.”
Williams later shared his side of the story via a Periscope post where he said he did not appear on the show after realizing the topic discussion had been changed without his approval. Williams told CNNMoney he understood he would be discussing a poll suggesting President Barack Obama is racist as well as talking about the speech he gave during an LGBT brunch that Caitlyn Jenner also attended. The brunch was part of the RNC.
"Suddenly Eric Bolling is involved and it's all about Obama being a racist," Williams told CNNMoney. "I walked before air, they chased me halfway around the building. My detail had to stop them ... I'm solely focused on my [LGBT] speech. When that was eliminated, why stay?"
Williams pointed out that the incident was the first time in five years that he had decided to not participate in a scheduled interview. He proceeded to throw the "coward" word back at O'Reilly, questioning his journalistic credentials and touching upon his custody battle where he was accused of domestic violence.
“Then you have to try and take it to another place O’Reilly and try to call me a coward because I won’t talk to you when you’re producer and your line producer clearly hoodwinked each other and couldn’t figure out how to explain what it is that you wanted me to do?" said Williams.
Williams continued, "If I’m a coward just because I won’t talk to you. Someone who is going to call someone a name on air and not even to their face. I’m calling you one now so the whole world can see it."
As for appearing on the show again, Williams doesn't seem to mind.
"In the history of the O’Reilly show I’ve only done it three times. I don’t care."
Bill O'Reilly responded with the following statement to THR.
“Topic was not changed and Williams knew about it for hours ahead of time. Just minutes before air time, he demanded the segment include his take on gay rights or something. When told that was not possible because the talking points set up voting demographics, the topic he agreed to, he bolted. My entire staff witnessed this debacle and script was written four hours before air. First time in nearly 20 years a guest has done that. Unbelievably unprofessional for a person in the industry.”
July 21 10:15 a.m. PT: Updated with Bill O'Reilly's statement.