Russell Simmons appeared on Fox News this past Monday to discuss his new book on meditation, but “O’Reilly Factor” host Bill O’Reilly was more interested in skewering Beyoncé's latest music video for encouraging teen pregnancy.
“Russell Simmons,” O’Reilly introduced his guest, “the author of the brand new book ‘Success Through Stillness: Mediation [sic] Made Simple.’ Mr. Simmons also the cofounder of the music label Def Jam.”
Simmons, who founded Def Jam in 1983, appeared to realize where O’Reilly was headed.
“Alright, now, on other programs,” O’Reilly continued, “you have largely apologized for some of the pernicious stuff–”
“No, no,” interrupted Simmons.
“Explain this: Beyoncé," O'Reilly said. "I saw her sing the Star Spangled Banner at the Super Bowl in Houston. Brilliant. Worth about $350 million. She puts out a new album with a video that glorifies having sex in the back of a limousine."
"Teenage girls look up to Beyoncé, particularly girls of color. She’s an idol to them," he continued. “I’m saying: Why on earth would this woman do that? Why would she do it when she knows the devastation that unwanted pregnancies … and fractured families?”
Simmons shook his head and explained he wanted to talk about meditation and “getting it into school.”
“I will say, I think the artist’s job throughout history has been to say things that people are inspired by,” Simmons added. “There’s research that says a man thinks about sex every 12 seconds. And so when an artist expresses something that’s sexual in music it is a reflection of our reality. If we want that reality changed, then we have to do things that affect the core.”
Simmons brought the subject back to meditation, and O’Reilly said he was “dodging the question.”
“I believe an entertainer like Beyoncé and a mogul like you have an obligation to protect children. Not put out exploitive garbage that you know harms impressionable children,” O’Reilly said. “What she has done here is inexplicable and I’m asking you, Russell Simmons, to explain it to me.”
“Bill, if you think that art that comes out of a community is the cause of the struggle–”
“That’s art?” O’Reilly interrupted.
“Yes, absolutely,” Simmons responded.
“Beyoncé in the back of a limo having sex and referencing Monica Lewinski is art?” O'Reilly exclaimed.