Comedian James Corden had some words of wisdom for conservative pundit, Bill O’Reilly, after he made a controversial statement regarding Michelle Obama’s speech at the DNC.
The First Lady addressed supporters at the convention on Monday, saying
“I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves, and I watch my daughters — two beautiful, intelligent, black young women — playing with their dogs on the White House lawn.”
In response, O’Reilly claimed that while the White House did use slave labor during construction, they were
“well fed and had decent lodgings.”
“Slaves that worked there were well fed and had decent lodgings provided by the government, which stopped hiring slave labor in 1802,”
he said during his show The O’Reilly Factor.
“However, the feds did not forbid subcontractors from using slave labor. So, Michelle Obama is essentially correct in citing slaves as builders of the White House, but there were others working, as well.”
In a segment on The Late Late Show with James Corden, the comedian addressed the comments.
“If you’re a privileged older white man, maybe you should not be pointing out the positive aspects of slavery. In fact, never do — never, ever, ever, ever, ever — do that,” said Corden.
Corden is one of many famous personas to call out O’Reilly’s statements. Television producer and creator of the ABC hit show Scandal, Shonda Rhimes, spoke out on Twitter, suggesting that O’Reilly should try slavery for himself.
The idiocy never ceases to amaze me. Try slavery, Bill. Let us know how good the food is while you wear chains. https://t.co/sHSWPljgyd
— shonda rhimes (@shondarhimes) July 27, 2016
Bill: Chat about cuisine after they steal ur name, homeland, family then beat u, breed u and make u work for free. https://t.co/sHSWPljgyd
— shonda rhimes (@shondarhimes) July 27, 2016
Questlove, drummer and co-frontman for the band Roots, took to Instagram to share his thoughts. He said,
“there is nothing more dangerous than a man in a suit pretending to be a journalist giving revisionist history on the ugliness that was slavery.”
Slavery was inhumane. Slavery was sadistic. Slavery was uncomfortable. Slavery was unjust. Slavery was a nightmare. Slavery was a despicable act. Slavery is the pebble whose ripple in the river still resonates on and on and on and on. I'd like to think most of you have common sense. But there is nothing more dangerous than a man in a suit pretending to be a journalist giving revisionist history on the ugliness that was slavery. What's so fun and lighthearted about being shackled? being separated from your loved ones? Being molested and raped HOURLY, being branded with hot iron? being property? being castrated? being flogged? being malnourished? living in high stress conditions? forced to lay in your own feces? being sold in a heartbeat? suppressing ANY emotion (with the surprising exception of singing it was illegal —lashes or death–to read, write, "talk back" or "sass", cry (how many of you heard "you better NOT cry before I give you something to cry about!"), get angry, or even more surprising LAUGHING (a plantation barrel of water was always in proximity to dunk ones head in so one could express emotions and suppress the sound as to not alert your overseer of your "sassing"—deep history I just learned about laughing and the slave period—the first recorded song "The Laughing Song" was the defiant "F%^k Tha Police" of its day (also where the term "Barrel Of Laughs" gets its origin)—I'm getting beside the point. I dunno if that man's (never say his name) point is to troll at any cost whatsoever but his entire existence is a 5 steps backwards for any progress made in humanity. My dismay is the percentage of people who get their news from memes/headlines/& sources to whom they have 0 clue is feeding them false information. Human Trafficking in any form from today's underage prostitution, to the private Prison System we exercise here in the US, to the Holocaust to 500 years of Slavery–and all other examples I've not mentioned is INHUMANE & Evil. —watch where you get your information from and the company you keep people.
O’Reilly has since tried to defend his comments on social media, saying the outrage sparked over them is an attack of the “Far left loons.”
Far left loons distort tip about @FLOTUS statement that slaves built White House. She's correct & I provided facts. More on The Factor -BO'R
— Bill O'Reilly (@oreillyfactor) July 27, 2016
The White House Historical Association said enslaved and free African Americans provided
“the bulk of the labor that built the White House, the United States Capitol, and other early government buildings.”
Whether or not they were well fed and lodged comfortably, however, is unknown and very unlikely.
“We know as construction workers they were expected to do hard, grueling, backbreaking work,” Jesse Holland, a journalist who wrote “The Invisibles: The Untold Story of African American Slaves in the White House,” said.
“So they had to feed them enough so they could actually get their money’s worth. Were they well fed? That’s not something that, right now, history supports.”
Many of the slaves lived in a structure described as a barn, Mr. Holland said. There were houses built for workers, but it’s unknown if the slaves got to live in them.
Watch the full segment with James Corden here.