MSNBC's Scarborough highlighted O'Reilly's comments about Sylvia's in Harlem

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On the September 25 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe, host Joe Scarborough, co-anchor Mika Brzezinski, and guest host Willie Geist discussed Fox News host Bill O'Reilly's recent comment, documented by Media Matters for America, that he, in Scarborough's words, "couldn't get over the fact that there was no difference between a black restaurant and a white restaurant," after a recent trip to Harlem's famous restaurant Sylvia's. Scarborough twice played audio clips of O'Reilly's comments, made on the September 19 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show. Scarborough called the remarks "shocking" and "fascinating," and added, "I'm sure we're going to be hearing more about that throughout the day." Scarborough also highlighted O'Reilly's comment that everyone at the restaurant was "tremendously respectful," to which Geist responded: "And Sylvia's of all places, which is like world famous, great restaurant. He was still surprised." From the September 25 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe:

SCARBOROUGH: You know, I just heard the most fascinating clip in my ear. Bill O'Reilly, on the syndicated talk show, on September the 19th, was describing a lunch with the Reverend Al Sharpton, and I will say no more; I'm just going to play it and let you be the judge of what he said.

O'REILLY [audio clip]: You know, I was up in Harlem a few weeks ago, and I actually had dinner with Al Sharpton, who is a very, very interesting guy, and he comes on The Factor a lot, and I treated him to dinner because he's made himself available to us, and I felt that I wanted to take him up there. And we went to Sylvia's, a very famous restaurant in Harlem. I had a great time. And all the people up there are tremendously respectful, they all watch The Factor. You know, when Sharpton and I walked in, it was, like, big commotion and everything, but everybody was very nice. And I couldn't get over the fact that there was no difference between Sylvia's restaurant and any other restaurant in New York City. I mean, it was -- it was exactly the same, even though it's run by blacks, primarily black patronship; it was the same. And that's really what this society is all about, now, here in the U.S.A. There's no difference. There's no difference. You know, we -- there may be a cultural entertainment people --

SCARBOROGH: Now, Stop that for a second.

O'REILLY: -- may gravitate toward different cultural entertainment.

SCARBOROUGH: I want you to -- stop that for a second. I want you to rewind that back. I want to play that again.

BREZEZINSKI: I think I heard it, I just need to hear it again.

GEIST: He sounded surprised that it was --

BREZEZINSKI: Yeah.

GEIST: -- like, civilized; that they had waiters and tablecloths.

SCARBOROUGH: I wrote this down. He said, "I couldn't get over the fact that there was no difference" between a restaurant run by people of color.

BREZEZINSKI: No, he didn't say that. Have we misunderstood?

SCARBOROUGH: Well, let's -- let's play it again.

BREZEZINSKI: OK.

SCARBOROUGH: I'm serious, this is the first time we're hearing this.

O'REILLY [audio clip]: You know, I was up in Harlem a few weeks ago, and I actually had dinner with Al Sharpton, who is a very, very interesting guy, and he comes on The Factor a lot, and I treated him to dinner because he's made himself available to us, and I felt that I wanted to take him up there. And we went to Sylvia's, a very famous restaurant in Harlem. I had a great time. And all the people up there are tremendously respectful, they all watch The Factor. You know, when Sharpton and I walked in, it was, like, big commotion and everything, but everybody was very nice. And I couldn't get over the fact that there was no difference between Sylvia's restaurant and any other restaurant in New York City. I mean it was -- it was exactly the same, even though it's run by blacks, primarily black patronship; it was the same. And that's really what this society is all about, now --

SCARBOROUGH: So, uh, anyway, he said --

O'REILLY [audio clip]: --here in the USA. There's no difference.

SCARBOROUGH: he said --

BRZEZINSKI: Oh, my God.

SCARBOROUGH: He could not --

BRZEZINSKI: Wow.

SCARBOROUGH: -- get over the fact that -- his words -- he could not get over the fact that there was no difference between that black restaurant and any other restaurant despite the fact -- his words -- despite the fact it was run by black people --

BREZEZINSKI: Hmm.

SCARBOROUGH: -- and the primary patrons --

BREZEZINSKI: That's attractive.

SCARBOROUGH: -- were black people.

GEIST: Sounds like Bill doesn't get up to Harlem a whole lot.

SCARBOROUGH: I don't think he does

BRZEZINSKI: It sounds like a lot of things are going on there, that I, I, I --

GEIST: Also using the term 'blacks." I don't think anybody's said that since like 1973.

SCARBOROUGH: Well, that, you know, it's just -- it's very surprising that, that Bill O'Reilly would be stunned that you could go to a restaurant that is run by African Americans, and that it would be, his words again, "I couldn't get over the fact that there was no difference between a black restaurant and a white restaurant."

GEIST: What, what was he expecting? You walk in, and they throw the food in the middle of the room and everybody just -- it's a free for all. What did he think was going to happen?

SCARBOROUGH: I don't know, he also was surprised that they were quote "tremendously respectful."

BRZEZINSKI: Oh great, here we go.

GEIST: Wow

BRZEZINSKI: I believe, whatever, it seems a little bit --

SCARBOROUGH: That's just strange. That's all I'm gonna say. Listen, O'Reilly is the king of cable, he's been number one for six years. That is fascinating, by the way, and I'm sure we're going to be hearing more about that throughout the day

GEIST: And Sylvia's of all places, which is, like, world famous, great restaurant. He was still surprised.

SCARBOROUGH: He could not get over the fact that there was no difference, even though the restaurant was run by black people.

BRZEZINSKI: Yeah, thanks, Bill O'Reilly. Alrighty.

SCARBOROUGH: It is shocking. So, I've got chills right now, going up and down my back. I'm gonna throw it over to you all and think I'm gonna take a shower.

Posted In
Diversity & Discrimination, Race & Ethnicity
Network/Outlet
MSNBC, Fox News Radio
Person
Bill O'Reilly, Joe Scarborough
Show/Publication
Morning Joe
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