Former Fox News host Bill O'Reilly forced his former colleague Eric Bolling to release a statement about the death of his son after O'Reilly said the media was to blame for the tragedy.
What did O'Reilly say about Bolling's son?
O'Reilly has been castigating the New York Times for its report that he settled a sexual harassment claim for $32 million, saying that the report was falsely reported. But in the process, he hurled the accusation that the Times' reporting led to the death of Eric Bolling's son, who had been reported to have committed suicide.
“I urge you to think about what you put in your newspaper," he said an interview with New York Times reporters.
"Eric Bolling’s son is dead," he added. "He’s dead because of allegations made — in my opinion and I know this to be true — against Mr. Bolling.”
How did Eric Bolling respond?
The former Fox News host released a statement asking O'Reilly to keep his son's death out of the debate, and disputing the claims he made.
"I believe it is beyond inappropriate for anyone to bring in the tragic death of my son Eric Chase Bolling," the statement read. "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," he added. "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."
"Unlike others who left Fox News amid public allegations and extensive investigations," he concluded, "I parted ways with Fox News in an amicable way and any reference to a firing is flatly wrong, I have been working on new collaborations which I will be announcing in the next few months."
He signed the statement, "Eric Bolling (dad)."
Why is O'Reilly claiming Bolling's son died because of the media?
Bolling's son died the day after his father parted ways with Fox News after scandalous accusations that he had sent unsolicited lewd texts to his female colleagues, including pictures of male genitalia. Early reports indicated that he might have committed suicide, leading many to connect the allegations against Bolling and the death of his son.
These insinuations were pure speculation until Bolling put out his statement saying the coroner believes the death was accidental.
Bolling had also made a vague statement saying he didn't remember sending the lewd texts, and added that he would clear his name.