Lost in the commotion of Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzOvernight Health Care — Presented by Carequest — Colin Powell's death highlights risks for immunocompromised The Senate confirmation process is broken — Senate Democrats can fix it Australian politician on Cruz, vaccines: 'We don't need your lectures, thanks mate' MORE's non-endorsement of Donald TrumpDonald TrumpTrump announces new social media network called 'TRUTH Social' Virginia State Police investigating death threat against McAuliffe Meadows hires former deputy AG to represent him in Jan. 6 probe: report MORE Wednesday night at the Republican National Convention was a verbal war of words between current Fox News host Bill O'Reilly and former daytime talk show host Montel Williams.
Williams -- a supporter of Ohio Gov. John Kasich in the Republican primaries -- was scheduled to appear on “The O'Reilly Factor” at 8:15 p.m. Eastern, live from Cleveland on the third night of the convention. But when O'Reilly returned from a commercial break, he informed viewers that Williams “walked out in a huff … and the producer tells me he was mad about some gay thing.”
O'Reilly then declared that Williams, "will never be on this program again.”
“He's not a man of his word, he's unprofessional,” he continued. “This is about as low as it gets."
Williams -- who heard O'Reilly’s commentary on a screen showing Fox News in the convention arena -- quickly reacted on Periscope and Twitter before finding another microphone — this one from Meghan McCain's iHeartRadio show, "America Now" — to vent his frustration. Ms. McCain is also a Fox News contributor and frequent co-host on the opinion show, "Outnumbered".
Williams didn't hold anything back in the conversation with McCain.
"He calls me a coward? He calls me all of these names because I didn’t want to speak to him?” an incredulous Williams asked. "I’m a COWARD? Excuse me … I’ve got 22 years in the military. The last time I looked, that little sissy never put on a uniform, though he talks a lot of trash about how quickly we should send other people’s children off to die."
Williams, 60, enlisted in the Marines upon graduating high school in 1974. He also served in the U.S. Navy.
When contacted by The Hill, spokesman Jonathan Franks said Williams refused to appear for his scheduled appearance after a misunderstanding over the topic to be discussed on the segment.
Williams, Franks explained, was under the impression that O'Reilly was going to discuss his speech that day to the American Unity Fund, a conservative LBGT cause whose members include Caitlyn Jenner. The segment was changed at the last moment, he contended, to a debate with Fox host Eric Bolling over a poll regarding race relations unfavorable to President Obama.
O'Reilly, however, said the topic was made clear to Williams well before going to air.
"Topic was not changed and Williams knew about it for hours ahead of time," O'Reilly told The Hill. "Just minutes before air time, he demanded the segment include his take on gay rights or something.
"When told that was not possible because the talking points set up voting demographics, the topic he agreed to, he bolted," O'Reilly continued. "My entire staff witnessed this debacle and script was written four hours before air. First time in nearly 20 years a guest has done that. Unbelievably unprofessional for a person in the industry."