Fox News host Bill O’Reilly was arrested in New York today for assaulting a department store Santa Claus at Macy’s.
According to local reports, the 63-year-old conservative pundit was shopping at the venerated Manhattan landmark for a last-minute Christmas gift and became enraged when the on-site Santa wished him “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.”
Witnesses say that after a brief argument O’Reilly punched the Santa Claus in the face and wrestled him to the ground before a throng of onlookers. The two then traded blows for close to a minute before security guards broke the fight up.
The Santa Claus, a 47-year-old man from Newark, N.J., is recovering at NYU Langone Medical Center from injuries sustained in the brawl and is expected to undergo several surgeries tonight to repair nerve damage in his nose.
‘Merry Christmas Motherf**ker’
Sheila Johnson, a 33-year-old computer programmer from Long Island, witnessed the entire ordeal and describes what she saw:
“The Santa was wishing everybody ‘Happy Holidays’ as they passed by. And most people were in a good mood, so they said ‘Happy Holidays’ back. But when he said it to O’Reilly, the dude went ballistic.”
Johnson says that immediately upon hearing the phrase “Happy Holidays,” O’Reilly dropped the package he was holding, turned to face the Santa, looked deep into his eyes and unleashed a verbal tsunami of anger.
“What the f**k did you just say to me? What the F**K did you just say?” O’Reilly screamed. “Did you seriously think you could get away with insulting me – ME! – with your anti-Christian, secular ‘Happy Holidays’ filth?”
“Hey buddy, I don’t know what your problem is,” the Santa replied, “But it’s my job, I can say whatever I want.”
“Oh really pinhead?” O’Reilly retorted as he stepped into the Santa’s face. “You think you can just abandon the Judeo-Christian values that made this country great? F**king say whatever dumb f**king communist phrase that comes to mind?”
“Pretty much,” replied the Santa.
“Oh yeah? Well I got a little present for you Karl Marx,” O’Reilly threatened as he raised his fist. “Merry Christmas motherf**ker.” He then connected a punch straight to the Santa’s nose.
O’Reilly is well known for his “War on Christmas” segments on his eponymous television show, in which he argues that the phrase “Happy Holidays” is destroying America.
His program has been canceled tonight and replaced with a special edition of the morning show Fox & Friends. He was arrested at the scene, released on a $10,000 bond, and is expected to face charges of assault.