Racism Charges Over Vogue Magazine Cover Featuring LeBron James and Gisele Bundchen

This is a rush transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," March 27, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

Watch "The O'Reilly Factor" weeknights at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET and listen to the "Radio Factor!"

JOHN KASICH, GUEST HOST: In the "Impact" segment tonight: Basketball superstar LeBron James is the first black man to grace the cover of Vogue magazine, but there is some controversy brewing over that.

James is photographed with supermodel Gisele Bundchen, but the April edition of the magazine was only on newsstands for minutes before the blogosphere erupted with accusations of racism. With us now, Angela McGlowan, FOX News political analyst and Dr. Marc Lamont Hill, an urban studies professor at Temple University.

OK, so you had George Clooney, Richard Gere, and LeBron James, only three men ever to be on the cover of Vogue, and you don't like it.


KASICH: Now tell me why.

HILL: Well, I'm not a really big Vogue reader. I'm not that excited that he broke the color barrier for Vogue. But I'm more concerned is that when I went to the newsstand and actually saw the image, I was immediately stunned by this. I said, oh my God, this is going to be a problem. And I don't want to start a protest having picket signs or anything. But when I saw that, that was a deeply racialized image, no doubt about that.

ANGELA MCGLOWAN, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: I don't think it's racialized. And what they're saying in essence, John, is that he looks like King Kong on the cover, holding a blond chick. How ridiculous is that? First of all, if I was LeBron James, I'd be upset that they're comparing me to an ape, No. 1. No. 2, it's issues like this that causes more racial division, Marc. We have other things going on in our community besides this black man showing up on the cover with a blond chick. And plus, she's Brazilian, OK? So she's not really "white."

KASICH: And here's what's interesting. OK, you're African-American.


KASICH: You're African-American.

HILL: Well done.

KASICH: You see it one way — you think I'm not perceptive — you see it one way, she sees it another.


KASICH: How can you see it, you know, 180 degrees differently here?

HILL: Well, because black people are people.


HILL: And so they're diverse. But the idea — that's an issue and point though, because one of the problems in America...

KASICH: I looked at it this morning. I didn't — I thought, great, LeBron's on the cover. I love LeBron.

HILL: But that's one of the extraordinary privileges of being white. You see, we live in a world where black humanity is a relatively new idea. To some, it's even futuristic still.

MCGLOWAN: Oh my God.

HILL: And so when you see an image of LeBron James looking like King Kong with a white woman...


HILL: …remember there's deep historically situated...

KASICH: Right.

HILL: ...anxieties about black men with white women. It's opposing, menacing. Just like Willie Horton...

KASICH: But wait a minute...

MCGLOWAN: But how...

KASICH: But wait — hold one second. LeBron James loved it.

MCGLOWAN: Yes, he did.

KASICH: He said this is great. I can't — he says everything I'm attached to gets criticized. He says I thought this was great. I loved it. I think it was fantastic. He's the guy.

HILL: Throughout history there have been black people who have played mammies, all sorts of offensive images…

KASICH: Well...

HILL: …hear me out — all sorts of offensive images, who didn't mind doing it. This isn't as bad as mammy, but my point is just because he is not offended by it doesn't mean that I don't have a right to be.

KASICH: What are you trying to say about LeBron here? I mean, the guy...

HILL: I think that he's being sincere. I think he's sincerely wrong.

MCGLOWAN: But John, John, yes...

KASICH: Isn't it his — isn't it up to him to decide whether something's been done that's characterized him the wrong way?

MCGLOWAN: It is up to him. But then it isn't, because he is a public figure. And I can see what Marc is saying from the standpoint that it is setting a standard being the first black male on the cover.

Having said that, though, we have seven out of 10 black babies that are being born out of wedlock. We have rampant drug abuse in our neighborhoods. We have inner city schools that are failing us. I can go on and on and on, John. And we're upset and protesting because a black man — and not from my standpoint; he doesn't look like King Kong to me — is on the cover of Vogue magazine. Would it have been better if he was in a tuxedo eating watermelon?

KASICH: But let me ask you. What about this? What about this, Angela...

HILL: George Clooney...

KASICH: Hold on, wait, wait, hold on. Angela, for a second, what if the woman with Gisele...


KASICH: ...had been an African-American woman? Would that have changed anything?

MCGLOWAN: You know what? At this point, we are so silly in our community in protesting things, I don't think it would have made a difference.

HILL: It would to me.

MCGLOWAN: Because honest with you — well, how would that have made a difference?


HILL: Because part of the issue here is that there's a history of fear around black male bodies around white female bodies. If it's a black man and black woman, I still find the image troubling, but it doesn't have the same racial history as this does. This isn't at the top of the list of priorities for me, but it is an issue.

MCGLOWAN: I know it isn't, Marc. I know it isn't. But the bottom line is this: What the article is about, he's supposed to be the king of basketball. She's supposed to be the queen of modeling. And that's the expression that he makes on the basketball court.

HILL: But if he's a king, he became King Kong.

MCGLOWAN: You know what though?

KASICH: But here's a quote from LeBron.

MCGLOWAN: We made him into King Kong. The black community did.

KASICH: Here's a quote: "I was just having fun with it. I was showing a little emotion. We had a few looks and that was the best one we had. Everything my name is going to be criticized in a good way. Who cares?" Honestly at the end of the day, he loved working with Annie Leibovitz. "I'm happy with it, absolutely."

So this is what he wanted to do, because as you say, this reflects what he does on the basketball court.

HILL: Do you know why I find that argument disingenuous.


HILL: Because FOX News, there are plenty of people who will critique, and rightly so, rap videos that have these disturbing images of women.


HILL: And then...


HILL: ...a lot of those women in those videos will say, I'm happy with the representation. But just because they're happy with it doesn't mean it's wrong.

MCGLOWAN: But John, he plays basketball.

KASICH: But wait a minute.

MCGLOWAN: He was bouncing the ball on the cover.

KASICH: Look, the problem with rap videos is it denigrates women, black or white, when you show them in a sexually compromising position.

HILL: But what if the women are OK with it?

KASICH: And Oprah...

HILL: But what if the women are OK with it?

MCGLOWAN: As a black woman...

HILL: What if the women are OK with it?

MCGLOWAN: ...I'm not OK with it.

KASICH: You know, I think...

MCGLOWAN: I'm not.

KASICH: I think it doesn't — and you want to know something? I think — no, no, I'm going to tell you no, I don't think it's OK. I think what they've done is put themselves in a compromising position, OK?

HILL: That's what I am saying about LeBron.

KASICH: But wait a minute. Wait a minute.


KASICH: No, what I'm saying here is LeBron does not think that he was compromised.

HILL: Neither do the women in the videos.

KASICH: No, they didn't know — they're in there to make money.


KASICH: How can you compare a rap video...

HILL: Because...

KASICH: Wait a minute. Wait a minute.

HILL: ...talking about representation.

KASICH: How can you...


KASICH: Wait a minute. How can you compare a rap video for a woman who's in a sexually compromising position...

MCGLOWAN: Thank you. Thank you.

KASICH: ...vs. LeBron on the cover of Vogue magazine…

MCGLOWAN: On the cover of Vogue magazine.

HILL: Because...

KASICH: …standing with a supermodel. Come on.


HILL: He's not standing with a super...

KASICH: No, what I think...

HILL: He's not standing with a supermodel.

KASICH: I think you're...


HILL: But I think a history of stereotypes about black men. Vogue, I didn't have to analyze it. That was a visceral response. As soon as I saw that, I said oh my God...

MCGLOWAN: A black...

HILL: ...who's going to be proud of that?

MCGLOWAN: Instead of being happy that the man is on the cover…

KASICH: You know what? You know what?

HILL: Of Vogue?

KASICH: Heated debate. But you want to know something?


KASICH: I don't think it ever got personal. I want to thank you both for being on.

HILL: I love you.

KASICH: Angela and Marc, thank you.

Copy: Content and Programming Copyright 2008 Fox News Network, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Transcription Copyright 2007 Voxant, Inc. (www.voxant.com), which takes sole responsibility for the accuracy of the transcription. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material except for the user's personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon Fox News Network, LLC'S and Voxant, Inc.'s copyrights or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.