TV host Bill O'Reilly has sparked an angry response after a segment on his show where he laughed at brutal footage of a United Airlines passenger being dragged off of a flight.
"I shouldn't be laughing, but it's just so bizarre," said O'Reilly as he chuckled at the clip, in which a bloodied man is forcibly taken off of an airplane by three police officers. The passenger, Dr. David Dao, 69, was removed from his seat after he declined to leave the overbooked flight when United said it needed to move staff from Chicago to Louisville, Daily Mail reports.
Dao, his wife, and two other passengers were asked to leave the plane because the flight had been overbooked and four crew members needed the seats. The airline reportedly offered passengers up to $800 to leave their seats, but no one accepted the offer.
Dao, a Vietnamese-American doctor, said that he didn't want to give up his seat because he needed to see patients the next day, according to the Courier-Journal. In video footage that went viral online and sparked a backlash against United, a security officer can be seen pulling Dao from his seat, after which Dao's head strikes an armrest and he is dragged out of the plane, appearing to be unconscious.
After the airline received widespread criticism for its treatment of the situation and Dao, United's CEO Oscar Munoz issued an apology, but hours later called Dao "disruptive and belligerent" in a letter to United employees and praised staff for following the company's established procedures.
O'Reilly, on his show, explained the story of how the United staff had needed to get to Louisville, while laughing.
"They had to get them there and so they asked for volunteers, and obviously, this guy didn't volunteer," said O'Reilly.
O'Reilly faced criticism online for his response to the clip.
"Bill O'Reilly laughs at horrific video of passenger being dragged off of United flight," tweeted Judd Legum, an editor at Think Progress. "Then says: 'I shouldn't be laughing.' You think?"
Another Twitter user noted that O'Reilly has recently been the subject of sexual harassment accusations.
"It's OK Bill, we'll all be laughing when you are dragged kicking and screaming from Fox," the user wrote. "But I'll politely say, 'I shouldn't be laughing.'"
Fox News' parent company, 21st Century Fox, is reportedly investigating accusations that O'Reilly sexually harassed at least one female co-worker.
The complaint being investigated was made by former "The O'Reilly Factor" guest Wendy Walsh, according to Newsday.
"Nobody can silence me, because my voice is not for sale," said Walsh after she was told that many of the other women who have accused O'Reilly of harassment are legally unable to comment due to gag orders.