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Defending Black Hawk Down

This is a partial transcript from The O'Reilly Factor, January 14, 2002. Click here to order the complete transcript.

BILL O'REILLY, HOST:  In the Back of the Book segment tonight, we recently interviewed Owen Gliberman, the film critic for Entertainment Weekly, who said Black Hawk Down is a racist film because it does not humanize the villains, all of whom are black.  Mr. Gliberman said he wanted to see the Somalis put into some kind of context.

Joining us now is the producer of Black Hawk Down, Jerry Bruckheimer.

Does he have a point?

JERRY BRUCKHEIMER, MOVIE PRODUCER:  No, not at all.  We went over there on a humanitarian mission.  That's what our goal was, to feed the people.  All started with the cover of Time magazine, where Audrey Hepburn was holding a starving baby.

O'REILLY:  Right.

BRUCKHEIMER:  So our government, Bush went in there with 20,000 Marines and food to feed the people and protect the people from the warlords, who were stealing the food. We had one warlord, Adid, who was taking all the food from the people and buying guns.  We stopped him. We created a truce. The minute we left, the Marines pull out, he starts all over again.

So — and he killed and skinned 24 Pakistani peacekeepers.

O'REILLY:  U.N. peacekeepers. 

BRUCKHEIMER:  Right. 

O'REILLY:  All right, there's no question he's a bad guy.

BRUCKHEIMER:  Right.

O'REILLY:  I mean, everybody knows that.  Nobody's going to stick up for Adid.  There's no question that our government panicked after these guys got chewed up in Black Hawk Down.

BRUCKHEIMER:  Right.

O'REILLY:  They shouldn't have. But all Glieberman was saying was look, if you had a couple of scenes, give me a couple of reasons why they were motivated to do this, then it would have taken a racist edge off it.  Because right now, all the white guys shooting down black guys.  No?

BRUCKHEIMER:  I don't know if he saw the movie, because the first scene in the picture, the second scene in the picture is a conversation between one of the supporters of Adid, who's very articulate, very smart and gives you the Somali point of view.  Then we have another scene in the movie with one of the kidnappers of one of our soldiers, and he's very articulate and  smart and tells you what he feels about us being there. 

O'REILLY:  So why the racist rap?  I mean, it's not from Gliberman. A few others have said it as well. What do you think motivated that?

BRUCKHEIMER:  I have no idea.

O'REILLY:  The political correctness?

BRUCKHEIMER:  I guess.  I guess, but A, they didn't read the Mark Bowden's book, which the movie is based on. 

O'REILLY:  I read the book. 

BRUCKHEIMER:  Well, it goes into some of the Somali point of view. 

O'REILLY:  Very little, because Bowden couldn't get it.  He would have been shot dead. 

BRUCKHEIMER:  Well, he went over there and he had to leave.  They chased him out of the  country. 

O'REILLY:  Yes, I mean, I read the book but it wasn't lacking. I knew why Bowden  couldn't get it. Because they would have killed him.

BRUCKHEIMER:  That's right.

O'REILLY:  And plus, you know, I'm not big on a moral equivalency here.

BRUCKHEIMER:  Right.

O'REILLY:  I mean, I've said many times on The Factor that yes, all right, sidebars are OK to tell what al-Qaeda is and why they exist and they're brainwashed people, but don't tell me every time something happens I got to tell him why bin Laden does what he does.  He's an evil son of a bitch, you know?

BRUCKHEIMER: You're absolutely right. And so was Adid. And don't forget, Adid went to military school with the Italians, was trained by the Russians, had a billion dollars of arms over there. 

O'REILLY:  Right.  So — but again, you think it's just political correctness driving this racism charge or what?

BRUCKHEIMER:  Absolutely.  I mean, a lot of people don't like our military operations around the world.  And it so happens it's a black nation.  And they went after us for it. 

O'REILLY:  All right.  Are you wondering into any Hollywood nonsense, because Hollywood's the capital of political correctness.  They're the capital of touchy-feely, don't offend minorities. 

BRUCKHEIMER:  We certainly find some of the backstabbing in Hollywood about this picture. They don't say it to our face, but...

O'REILLY:  Really?  Have you heard it? 

BRUCKHEIMER:  Yes, sure, of course I've heard it.

O'REILLY:  Yes?

BRUCKHEIMER:  You know, that the picture's too violent, that the picture's partially racist.  But it's not.  It lays out...

O'REILLY:  Do you expect it hurts you in the Academy Award category because of the controversy here?

BRUCKHEIMER:  I hope not, but we never know, do we?

O'REILLY:  Well, you know.  You're a savvy guy.  Do you think you're going to be hurt?

BRUCKHEIMER:  It's possible. Could be.

O'REILLY:  Yes? When you made this movie, were you aware that you may have been stirring up a little controversy?  Or did it come out of the blue?

BRUCKHEIMER:  It always comes out of the blue, you never know.  But when you take something — a subject as powerful as this, you always create controversy.

O'REILLY:  All right, so when you were reading the script, you didn't say to yourself, "Hey, you know, we might get accused of being racist here because we don't have enough of the other side in here?"

BRUCKHEIMER:  I get accused of all kinds of things at every picture I make.  I mean,   Pearl Harbor was accused of all kinds of things. 

O'REILLY:  Yes, I accused you of some stuff.

BRUCKHEIMER:  That's right. so there you go.  So...

O'REILLY:  But it was more artistic stuff, than...

BRUCKHEIMER:  So it's a big ball game.

O'REILLY:  But this is virulent.  You know, what's the "R" word?  So when you were reading the script, I want you to be honest with me now, did you ever think hey, this   might happen?

BRUCKHEIMER:  Never. 

O'REILLY:  Never one time?

BRUCKHEIMER:  And by the way, I've only heard it from two people.  The New York Times and Owen (ph) were the only two people we've heard it from.  In all the other review, and we've  gotten some sensational reviews, which is really unusual for me.

O'REILLY:  Well, you're an action picture guy. 

BRUCKHEIMER:  That's right, but still, for Time magazine,  Newsweek, Rolling Stone I mean major publications loving this picture.  We've made a number of top 10 lists, more than I've ever been involved in, any of our pictures.

O'REILLY:  Yes.

BRUCKHEIMER:  So for me, that's very exciting for the critics, the major critics loving this picture. 

O'REILLY:  Well, it opens wide on Friday, right?  That's what they say in show biz, opens wide?

BRUCKHEIMER:  Really wide. 

O'REILLY:  All right, good, Mr. Bruckheimer, thanks for coming in.  We appreciate it. 

BRUCKHEIMER:  Thanks for having me. 

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