But that didn't stop Bill O'Reilly from declaring that there's a "nationwide epidemic" of violent lesbian gangs terrorizing schools and neighborhoods on his show on June 21. (He's since admitted that he "overstated" the facts.) Speaking of the facts, DC police say that there is 1 lesbian gang (out of the 175 gangs) in the DC area.
O'Reilly backtracks on lesbian gangs
Thursday, July 26, 2007 / 11:57 AM
Fox News host Bill O'Reilly has apologized on the air for errors in a widely criticized June 21 segment that reported a "nationwide epidemic" of violent lesbian gangs terrorizing neighborhoods and schools.
"We overstated the extent of gay gangs in the Washington area," the "O'Reilly Factor" host said on his show as GLAAD spokesman Rashad Robinson stood by on a split screen. "Detective Wheeler has apologized."
"Thank you for correcting the record," Robinson said.
The exchange disintegrated, however, as O'Reilly went on to explain how the story came into being: He had seen a story in which several New Jersey lesbians attacked a man who spat on one of them when she spurned his attentions. Four of the women were ultimately convicted in the Aug. 18 incident.
"They were never identified as being in a gang. Gang charges were dropped." Robinson said.
"They were a pack of lesbians. Who jumped this guy," O'Reilly said. Soon after, he said, he saw tape on a "gang" in Memphis.
"There was no criminal activity," Robinson said.
"And a gang in Philly."
"They were eighth-graders," Robinson said.
"We got three. We put our guy (Fox crime analyst Rod Wheeler) on it. I'm just trying to tell you how we got on this."
"You called it a nationwide epidemic," Robinson told him.
"I got a little carried away with that," O'Reilly said.
Gay and progressive media-watchers had pounced on the report, as did the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Ala., one of America's leading civil rights groups.
They noted that the Philadelphia segment was three years old, the Memphis segment did not produce any evidence of illegal activity, and that in some of the video re-aired by O'Reilly the girl hooligans were actually fighting over men.
Washington, D.C.-area law enforcement said it was simply inaccurate.
"We have 150 to 175 total gangs in the D.C. area, and, out of those, only nine where the predominance of members are female," Sgt. Brett Parson of the D.C. Metro Police Department's Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit told the Southern Poverty Law Center.
"You simply can't make the jump that they are lesbians. I think it is fair to talk about violence and female gangs. But to sensationalize or marginalize a community by making a statement like that seems irresponsible," Parson said.
"There is no evidence whatsoever of a lesbian gang epidemic in this region . . . . Our membership reports only one lesbian gang," Gaithersburg, Md., police Det. Patrick Word, president of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Gang Investigators Network, told the rights group. (Barbara Wilcox, The Advocate)