Sponsors of VH1's Music Behind Bars

This is a partial transcript from The O'Reilly Factor, October 22, 2002. Click here to order the complete transcript.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST:   In the Back of the Book segment tonight, I am nicknaming VH-1 the "very hurtful" network, as it defied millions of Americans and ran a rock concert featuring two convicted murderers -- two.  That action brought pain to the families of their victims, of course.

We told you about that last week, and now here's a list of the sponsors you asked for.  Columbia Sportswear, Mazda, Tower Records, Smirnoff Ice, Expedia.com, Valvoline Motor Oil, LensCrafters -- And are you ready? -- The New York Times. -- Let me repeat that -- The New York Times sponsored Music Behind Bars.

With us now is Donny Deutsch, the chairman of Deutsch, Inc., an international advertising agency.

I understand you have a number of clients that advertised that program.

DONNY DEUTSCH, DEUTSCH, INC., CHAIRMAN & CEO:  Interestingly enough, when you folks had called me to come on and talk about this show, which is an abomination, you know, the...

O'REILLY:  No excuse for it, right?

DEUTSCH:  An abomination.  Shame on VH-1.

I didn't even realize that one or two of our clients ended up on there, and I think therein is the story.

Specifically in the case of Expedia.com, tremendous company, decent people, VH-1 actually called our agency, "Do you want to be on the show?"  We said no, somehow ended up on there anyway.

What a lot of these networks do is they've got to achieve make-goods.  Their ratings weren't good on other shows, so they slide you into other places.

O'REILLY:  Right.

DEUTSCH:  LensCrafters, a tremendous company, decent, decent people.  There's not one sponsor -- I don't know a lot of those other sponsors, but I guarantee you there is not one sponsor that understood what that show was about.  There is no way...

O'REILLY:  But shouldn't they -- let me read you an...


O'REILLY:  Expedia gave us a statement.  "Expedia.com does not support the programming," they said flat out.

DEUTSCH:  Right.

O'REILLY:  "It was not intended to air during VH-1's program.  VH-1 called and asked to air the commercial.  We did not want it to air."

DEUTSCH:  Absolutely.

O'REILLY:  "It was a mistake on VH-1's part."  So, Expedia, okay for you.

DEUTSCH:  Absolutely.

O'REILLY:  Now we also have a statement from LensCrafters.  They said, "We go through our agencies to buy the time on VH-1.  We were not aware that our commercial was going to run during VH-1 until after the fact."  OK.  Now they pulled -- LensCrafters has pulled all their ad stuff off VH-1.

DEUTSCH:  Absolutely.  This is a quality company, LensCrafters.

O'REILLY:  All right.  Mazda.  The worst is Mazda.  Mazda didn't call us back, basically said, "Blank you," all right.  All right, Mazda.  Now everybody in America knows...

DEUTSCH:  Shame on Mazda.

O'REILLY:  ... what kind of company you are.

"The New York Times" -- interestingly enough, the woman said, "We're unfamiliar with VH-1's show.  We don't even know what it was about."  Now isn't it the corporate responsibility to know what program they're promoting by their advertising dollars?

DEUTSCH:  Yes, it is, but this is a very dynamic world, and I think the way LensCrafters and Expedia reacted, which is the way they should have reacted.

O'REILLY:  You told them to do that.

DEUTSCH:  Absolutely...


DEUTSCH:  Absolutely not.  Absolutely not.  I absolutely had nothing to do with it.  Absolutely not.

I think the real culprit here is VH-1.  You know, they're...

O'REILLY:  Sure it is, but -- no, wait a minute.  I'm not -- I'm not giving...

DEUTSCH:  I mean, this is -- we...

O'REILLY:  I'm not giving The New York Times a pass on this totally.

DEUTSCH:  Oh, I'm not giving The New York Times a pass either.

O'REILLY:  If they say "We don't know what the show is.  We're unfamiliar with it"...

DEUTSCH:  Shame on The New York Times.

O'REILLY:  Yes.  I mean come on.

DEUTSCH:  But I think there's a bigger issue here in that a lot of these networks are trying so hard to push the envelope, to go crazy, to do whatever possible, and shame on them.

And what's going to happen to VH-1 -- advertisers -- they've got to answer to advertisers now, and a lot of these that were burned are going to say, "You know what?  Screw you.  We're not buying any of our clients'"...

O'REILLY:  Right.  They've already pulled them off.

DEUTSCH:  So I mean -- so basically -- not only that, but other clients...

O'REILLY:  But wait a minute, Donny.  You're a savvy guy.  You know VH-1...

DEUTSCH:  Others would question that, by the way.

O'REILLY:  ... and MTV, particularly, push the envelope all the time.  So does HBO and Showtime and the others.

DEUTSCH:  They're not paid advertisers, though.

O'REILLY:  Right.  And you've got to know -- correct, they're not, but I'm -- I'm trying to put into perspective that there are certain vehicles in this country...


O'REILLY:  ... that push it, push it, push it.  This isn't The Family Channel.  It's not the FOX News Channel where you can buy spots.  You're going to get the news.  You're going to get family programs.

DEUTSCH:  Then you're going to get crazy right-wing stuff on the Fox News Channel, so you've got to be careful about that.

O'REILLY:  You sound like you're working for CNN.


O'REILLY:  But the point is that, if you buy VH-1 or MTV, you could show up on some appalling, abominable spectacle.

DEUTSCH:  Well, not -- not if you're careful, not if you're smart.

O'REILLY:  But they have...

DEUTSCH:  It -- there are going to be random situations.  Look, VH-1 has a lot of terrific programs.  MTV -- you know, these are young...

O'REILLY:  Like what?


O'REILLY:  Like what?

DEUTSCH:  Behind the Music.  These are interesting stories.  I think these are...

O'REILLY:  The story behind the music or something?

DEUTSCH:  I'm not here to promote VH-1.  I'm too old for that stuff anyway.  You know, I mean, but the -- the story is here you can't make a blanket statement, but I think these networks have got to be a lot more responsible and...

O'REILLY:  All right.  You remember the Pepsi-Cola-Ludacris deal, right?  I'm sure you -- where Ludacris got fired by Pepsi-Cola, after we on The Factor said, "Why are you hiring this rap guy who's telling people to use drugs and carry Glocks?"  The American people, through that, demonstrated they're angry.

DEUTSCH:  Right.

O'REILLY:  They're going to hold sponsors accountable for what they do.

DEUTSCH:  OK.  These are...

O'REILLY:  Has the message gotten through to corporate America yet?

DEUTSCH:  But you know what?  The word "sponsor" -- these companies didn't sponsor -- their ads out of hundreds of thousands of ads found their way there, and it was a mistake, and they got out of it.

O'REILLY:  But if every one of those companies...

DEUTSCH:  These are -- this is Viacom.  This is -- and I guarantee you  every one of those companies will not only -- will be calling Viacom and saying, "Hey, how the heck did this happen?  What are you going to do for us?  How are you going to protect us?"

O'REILLY:  Well, we...

DEUTSCH:  "And guess what?  Maybe I'm going to look a little harder at AOL Time Warner and give them my money or Fox."

O'REILLY:  What are you going to do for the families that were...

DEUTSCH:  Exactly.

O'REILLY:  ... that were really hurt by this?

DEUTSCH:  That's what they should...

O'REILLY:  But I'll you what -- I'm telling this to all those sponsors -- Americans are teed off and they're going to start holding people like Mazda accountable for making this stuff possible.

I appreciate you coming in, Donny.

DEUTSCH:  Good being with you.

O'REILLY:  I've got to go.

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