One week after Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa said Fox News host Bill O'Reilly owes Asian-Americans an apology for his report on social conditions in Hawaii, the two went head-to-head on national television.
Rep. Hanabusa (D) appeared live from Honolulu to stand by her previous comments blasting O'Reilly for his characterizations of Asian-Americans. Of particular concern to Hanabusa was the portion of his program on Jan. 3 in which O'Reilly said, "Asian people are not liberal, you know, by nature. They're usually more industrious and hard-working."
In a news release the following day, Hanabusa said O'Reilly owed Hawaii and all Asian-Americans an apology. "Leave it to Bill O'Reilly to thoughtlessly insult 1.3 million people with one sweeping misstatement," she said.
The interview that aired Friday, Jan. 11, was a feisty exchange.
O'Reilly introduced the segment, titled "Exposing Hawaii's Liberalism", by stating that as perhaps the most liberal state in the Union, prostitution and drug use is widely accepted. He also stated, if someone "rapes a child in the Aloha State, the mandatory prison sentence is an unbelievable two years."
Hanabusa was then brought into the conversation and asked, "Congresswoman what exactly is your beef?"
A heated argument ensued, in which Hanabusa was eventually cornered into admitting she had not seen the Jan. 3 report in its entirety on television, but Hanabusa was quick to return to the original intent of the interview: fighting back against O'Reilly's characterization of Asian-Americans.
"We are by your definition liberal because we care," she said. "We care about our elders, we care about those who need help."
"Conservative people care about their elders too," O'Reilly countered.
"We have a very strong culture in Hawaii to do that. All I'm saying is when you characterize us in Hawaii, be aware that you're talking about a culture of people who have managed to live together and work together," said Hanabusa.
O'Reilly also criticized Hawaii's high rate of homelessness and food stamp use. After eight minutes, the interview ended with apparent hostility.
"Do me one favor because I think you are a good woman," O'Reilly said. "Never again condemn someone unless you've seen their full report. Because what I did was not offensive to Asians. It was taken out of context."
Nearly yelling in response, Rep. Hanabusa said, "You are offensive to Asians. We are not one kind of person. We want you to recognize that we are different. That is all we are asking you do to."
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