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‘I’m still standing and he’s not’

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NEW YORK — Michael Moore is one of many who is gratified by this week’s firing of Bill O’Reilly from Fox News Channel, amidst allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior.

The firebrand filmmaker famously sparred with the conservative TV personality on his The O’Reilly Factor in 2004, after the release of Moore’s documentary Fahrenheit 9/11, which criticized George W. Bush and his administration’s War on Terror. At a 15th anniversary screening of his similarly controversial Bowling for Columbine, Moore recalled the angry reactions both films spawned from Bush supporters, O’Reilly included.

There was one particular instance when O’Reilly was “passing me by on the street in a limo, sees me, tells the driver to screech to a halt, and he jumps out of the car yelling at me,” Moore told audience members at the Tribeca Film Festival on Thursday. “Someone happened to capture a picture of the moment. Look at O’Reilly’s face — it’s the scariest frikkin’ thing. But I’m still standing and he’s not.”

The topic of O’Reilly was brought up after a festivalgoer asked Moore whether conservatives aren’t as willing to engage with him as his star has risen as a left-wing provocateur. (The filmmaker, who initially endorsed Bernie Sanders, released pro-Hillary Clinton movie Michael Moore in TrumpLand weeks before the election last fall.) But Moore’s blunt prediction that Trump would win last July has actually earned him fans on the right.

That “helped actually, because the people that voted for Trump heard me, too,” Moore said. “I was recognizing the fact that they were angry and upset, and that they weren’t all bigots and racists. … Since the election, I get stopped practically every day by at least one Trump voter.”

It’s not that he wanted him to be president, though. In fact, quite the opposite.

“When I first said it on (HBO’s Real Time withBill Maher), I just got booed,” Moore said. “And I was like, ‘I didn’t say it because I wanted it to happen. I’m just trying to ring a warning bell here.’ There’s a bubble in Brooklyn, folks, and it’s toxic. … I saw what was going on (in Middle America) and everybody was just throwing a party.”

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