Former Fox News Host Blasts Florida for Removing His Books: ‘Absurd’

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Former Fox News Host Blasts Florida for Removing His Books: ‘Absurd’

Former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly ridiculed the temporary removal of two of his books from a Florida school district.

“It’s absurd,” O’Reilly told Newsweek on Friday. “Preposterous.”

On Thursday, the Florida Freedom to Read Project obtained a list of over 1,000 book titles that were temporarily removed from the Escambia County School District, pending an investigation. Two of the books on the list were written by O’Reilly—the conservative pundit—titled Killing Jesus: A History, and Killing Reagan: The Violent Assault That Changed a Presidency.

In a statement to the Pensacola News Journal, a spokesperson for Escambia schools said that the books have not been permanently banned but instead are under review “to ensure compliance with the new legislation,” which was previously signed by GOP presidential candidate and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. The legislation seeks to limit books and other materials “alleged to contain pornography or obscene depictions of sexual conduct” in the state’s schools.

Library
Students from the new Downtown Burlington High School work inside a closed Macy’s department store transformed into a library in Burlington, Vermont, on March 30, 2021. Conservative pundit Bill O’Reilly on Friday spoke to Newsweek about two of his books being temporarily removed from a Florida school district.
JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP/Getty Images

In response to his books being included on the list this week, O’Reilly told Newsweek that he wants to see further action taken by DeSantis.

“When DeSantis signed the book law, I supported the theme because there was abuse going on in Florida. There were far-left progressive people trying to impose an agenda on children, there’s no doubt about it. And the state has an obligation to protect children. But the wording of the law was far too nebulous in Tallahassee,” O’Reilly told Newsweek.

“So, that law needs to be tightened up, DeSantis needs to come out publicly and say ‘this is insane, we’re not going to cooperate with this and we’re going to investigate the people who did it,'” O’Reilly said.

O’Reilly also said that he and his team also plan to investigate this, adding that he will “find out exactly who made the decisions to temporarily take them out of the library in this country, I’m going to put their pictures up on television and on my website … and I’m going to ask them for a detailed explanation of why they did that.”

In a post to X, formerly Twitter, O’Reilly said, “We are investigating and are seeking comment from @GovRonDeSantis. This will not stand.”

While speaking with Newsweek, O’Reilly said that the temporary removal of his books signals an “abuse” of the law in Florida, but noted that, overall, he is not against the removal of certain material in schools across the nation.

“I want to emphasize the fact that there are abuses in certain school districts that harm children. There are materials that are inappropriate and those materials have to be specifically included in the law with language that is very specific,” O’Reilly said. “You can’t be throwing John Grisham under the bus, it’s absurd.”

In a March 2023 statement, DeSantis said: “In Florida, pornographic and inappropriate materials that have been snuck into our classrooms and libraries to sexualize our students violate our state education standards. Florida is the education state and that means providing students with a quality education free from sexualization and harmful materials that are not age appropriate.”

Newsweek reached out to DeSantis’ office via email on Friday for further comment.

Uncommon Knowledge

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

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