Fox News host Bill O’Reilly clashed with hip hop mogul Russell Simmons on Wednesday night over race relations in America and the crime rate within the black community. At one point, O’Reilly accused Simmons of ignoring the “astronomical crime rate among black men” in the United States.
Simmons argued a better relationship between police and blacks can be achieved through “sensitivity training.” He also advocated for special prosecutors in cases like the the police-involved death of Eric Garner in New York City.
O’Reilly quickly shifted the discussion to the “bigger issue.”
“The bigger issue that you are not acknowledging is that the astronomical crime rate among young, black men — violent crime — drives suspicion and hostility on the part of the police who have to be confronted with it,” O’Reilly said. “You won’t acknowledge it, Russell, you won’t acknowledge it.”
Simmons agreed that police are “afraid” of black communities, but reiterated that “sensitivity training” is the best place to start in addressing the issue.
“But if we want to start with the core, if there is crime or prison culture that ensues in the black community, or if the fabricate of the black community is in some way disrupted, it has everything to do with your war on drugs,” Simmons said, adding that 95 percent of people that go to jail for non-violent, first-time offenses are “people of color.”
When O’Reilly asked his guest if selling heroin and crack on the street is a “violent crime,” Simmons deflected and claimed that whites and blacks both use drugs at the same rate.
“Am I invisible? Are you not hearing me?” O’Reilly asked.
Simmons eventually admitted he doesn’t believe selling drugs is a violent crime, a point with which O’Reilly disagreed.
Things got especially heated when O’Reilly accused Simmons of failing to go into black communities to condemn "the black drug gangs for gunning down 14 and 13-year-old kids.”
“You haven’t done it!” O’Reilly said.
Watch the rest of the exchange below via Fox News: