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Former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly has threatened to sue over a news report that ticket sales have been poor for his upcoming interview tour with former president Donald Trump.
Politico reported on Friday that “ticket sales are moving slowly” at venues in a number of cities including Dallas and Orlando.
When reporter Daniel Lippman asked Mr O’Reilly for comment, he found himself at the receiving end of the ex-host’s famous temper.
Mr O’Reilly disputed that sales were low and insisted that no marketing had yet taken place for the tour beyond the initial announcement.
“We have more than $7 million in the bank,” said Mr O’Reilly in a phone interview with Politico. “We haven’t spent a nickel on marketing, nothing. All those 7 million for four shows were done on the announcement. Marketing will start in about a week. Nobody has sold tickets this fast at this price, and VIPs are sold out at 3 of the 4 venues.”
He then turned on Mr Lippman, telling him: “You put one word in there that’s not true, I’ll sue your ass off and you can quote me on that. You’re just a hatchet man and that’s what you are.”
The Independent has reached out for verification of Mr O’Reilly’s comments. A spokesperson for Mr Trump disputed the characterisations of the tour’s sales as well.
“The History Tour has already sold over $5 million of tickets, and the excitement and enthusiasm is unlike anything we’ve seen before,” Liz Harrington told the news outlet. “Come December, the sold out shows will be a memorable night for all.”
Mr O’Reilly previously hosted the long-running “O’Reilly Factor” on the Fox News Channel before being ousted in April 2017 following reports that he had settled sexual harassment claims, including one for as much as $32 million.
He announced plans for a multi-state interview tour with the former president last month, a move that comes as speculation is swirling over whether Mr Trump will run for the White House in 2024.
The former president is seen as the favorite to win the GOP nomination should he run for president again, with polling showing him dominating the field of likely contenders.
The tour, set to begin in December, would be a major national stage for Mr Trump to make such an announcement at a time when he remains banned from most major social media platforms and largely otherwise unable to reach a large audience.