Bill O’Reilly took to his social media account Monday night to apologize to his former Fox News colleague Eric Bolling after he cited the death of his son, Eric Chase Bolling, in his heated fight against the news media.
Here’s what O’Reilly said
Apologies to Eric Bolling and prayers for him and his family. The message I tried to send was that allegations harm kids. Nothing more.
— Bill O'Reilly (@BillOReilly) October 23, 2017
“Apologies to Eric Bolling and prayers for him and his family,” he tweeted. “The message I tried to send was that allegations harm kids. Nothing more.”
He added afterward, “Eric Bolling is a stand up guy who deserves the respect I have for him.”
Why did he apologize?
O’Reilly had used the death of Bolling’s son to accuse reporters at the New York Times of misusing their platform and indirectly causing anguish and tragedy for those they target.
He was scolding them for reporting that he had paid out $32 million to someone who accused him of sexual harassment, and used Bolling’s family tragedy as an example. O’Reilly has said the New York Times story is misleading, but that he cannot give details for legal reasons.
How did Bolling respond?
The former Fox News host released a statement asking O’Reilly to desist using his son in his war against the media. He also contradicted some of the details reported about the death of his son.
“I believe it is beyond inappropriate for anyone to bring in the tragic death of my son Eric Chase Bolling,” he said in the statement. “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,” Bolling continued. “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.”
Bolling added that his departure from Fox News had been amicable, although it had come at the end of an investigation into allegations that he had sent unsolicited lewd texts to female colleagues at the network plagued by sexual harassment accusations.