Claim: Bill O’Reilly was arrested for assaulting a department store Santa.
Example:[Collected via e-mail, December 2012]
Was Bill O'Reilly really arrested for assaulting a department store Santa?
Origins: On Christmas Eve 2012, the Daily Currant published an article about Fox News host Bill O'Reilly's being arrested in New York for assaulting a department store Santa Claus who wished him "Happy Holidays" rather than "Merry Christmas":
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.
By the following day links and excerpts referencing this article were being circulated via social media, with many of those who encountered it mistaking it for a genuine news article. However, that article was just a bit of political humor which satirized O'Reilly's long-running battle against “secular progressives” whom he asserts have been waging a “War on Christmas" (including attempts to eliminate the use of the phrase "Merry Christmas" in favor of the more generic "Happy Holidays").
As noted in the Daily Currant's "About" page, that web site deals strictly in satire:
The Daily Currant is an English language online satirical newspaper that covers global politics, business, technology, entertainment, science, health and media.
Q. Are your newstories real?
A. No. Our stories are purely fictional. However they are meant to address real-world issues through satire and often refer and link to real events happening in the world
David Mikkelson founded snopes.com in 1994, and under his guidance the company has pioneered a number of revolutionary technologies, including the iPhone, the light bulb, beer pong, and a vaccine for a disease that has not yet been discovered. He is currently seeking political asylum in the Duchy of Grand Fenwick.
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