O'REILLY RIPS CELEB 'PHONIES'
Friday, November 2, 2001
By RICHARD JOHNSON
with Paula Froelich and Chris Wilson
FOX News Channel star Bill O'Reilly is being boycotted by Hollywood celebs because he called them "phonies" who are "missing in action."
The celebrities who helped raise hundreds of millions of dollars for the families of the World Trade Center victims apparently don't care whether the money actually reaches the widows and orphans.
O'Reilly couldn't get even one of the stars who participated in the recent "Concert for New York," or the lineup at an earlier telethon Tom Hanks emceed, to comment on the scandal at the Red Cross which O'Reilly covered. "They get a lot of positive publicity when they do these events," O'Reilly told PAGE SIX. "But when it's time to take some responsibility, they are MIA."
O'Reilly has been talking for a week on his prime-time show, "The O'Reilly Factor," about how the Red Cross, which raised $547 million in its specially created Liberty Fund, was planning to divert the bulk of the funds into its general budget.
Red Cross director Bernadine Healy was forced to resign last Friday when it was learned that only 10 cents of every dollar had gone to families of victims. Much of the remainder is being hoarded for operations that have nothing to do with terror victims.
State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, who had clashed with Healy, said, "I'm of the belief that most individuals, if not all individuals, who made contributions in the aftermath of Sept. 11 fully expect those contributions to benefit those affected by Sept. 11."
When O'Reilly couldn't get even one celebrity to comment, he blasted Cindy Guagenti of Baker Winokur Ryder, the giant Hollywood public relations firm which represents the likes of Brad Pitt, Guy Ritchie, Benicio Del Toro and David Spade.
"Most celebrities hire public relations people to get them good publicity," O'Reilly said Wednesday. "These people are usually dripping in arrogance, full of self-importance and condescension."
He then quoted Guagenti as having said about her clients: "Conversations about money is not in their knowledge. You should be going to somebody else."
O'Reilly finished by saying: "We are still talking with some celebrities, and we hope a few of them will step up, but the majority of these people are phonies, much more interested in their own images than solving any social problems."
Guagenti said yesterday, "They took a voice mail message I left for a producer, and misquoted me. That's dirty." She admits she is boycotting "The O'Reilly Factor." "Why would I work with somebody who is so unfair?"
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