Political pundit Kirsten Powers appeared on CNN late Wednesday to discuss Bill O’Reilly’s departure from the Fox News network amid sexual harassment claims levied against him.
Powers told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that she had her own personal experience with O’Reilly, in which O’Reilly made remarks that many would have considered to be overtly sexist.
“I was thinking about an incident that had happened early on in my career there where I was on-air there with Margaret Hoover, who’s at CNN now, on a regular segment, we were on every Monday,” Powers said. “And he got Margaret’s name wrong, and Margaret said, ‘Hey, get my name right,’ and he said, ‘Oh, I’m sorry, there’s a lot of blondes in this operation, I can’t keep you all straight. Megyn Kelly’s coming up,’ starts throwing all these blondes’ names.”
“And at the end of the segment, says, ‘Thank you for your blondeness,’ to both of us,” Powers said.
She then told Cooper that she complained to O’Reilly’s executive producer and demanded an apology, threatening to stop appearing on his show if she did not receive one. According to Powers, O’Reilly’s behavior was excused by a long list of network employees at Fox News, all the way up to former network chief Roger Ailes.
But in 2014, Powers herself was a staunch defender of O’Reilly after former State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf accused him of being sexist, even going so far as to pen a USA Today op-ed titled, “Bill O’Reilly is not sexist.”
“Sexism is a serious problem and a serious accusation. It’s true there are many people who dismiss women as unserious and out of their depth not because they are, but because they are women. Bill O’Reilly isn’t one of them,” she wrote in September 2014.
“I know. As a Fox News contributor, I’ve worked with him for eight years, including weekly segments where we often disagree heatedly. O’Reilly does not discriminate when it comes to expressing tough judgments. Anyone with a passing familiarity with his work knows this, which is what makes Harf’s accusation so irresponsible.” Powers wrote.
Powers clearly stated that O’Reilly’s character was being assassinated because of “trigger happy” Democrats who purposely look for sexism in everything.
Powers did not immediately respond to a request for comment on her change in stance.