Fox News contributor Ben Carson drew raised eyebrows from Bill O’Reilly on Thursday when he expressed skepticism over the frequency of domestic violence in the U.S.
While discussing former NFL running back Ray Rice’s hitting his then-fiancee, Janay Palmer, this past February, O’Reilly asked, “You know how many millions of men do that? It’s not an isolated deal. It’s a terrible plague.”
“I’m not sure that’s true,” Carson told a surprised O’Reilly. “To have a man who is an NFL star who is very, very bulked up against a –”
“I’m telling you, battery against women in this country and around the world is just out of control, doc,” O’Reilly interjected.
As Vox reported on Monday, data from the Department of Justice shows that 51.9 percent of U.S. women report experiencing physical violence during their lifetimes. And 1.3 million women each year say they have been attacked by an intimate partner.
Sidespin also reported that 56 players have been arrested for domestic violence since Roger Goodell became commissioner of the league eight years ago. Between them, those players were suspended for 13 games, a figure that does not reflect Rice’s indefinite suspension levied this week.
Carson, who earlier this week said people should stop “demonizing” Rice, told O’Reilly that he did not feel he should go unpunished for hitting Palmer, who later married him.
“What I’m saying is, for someone to do something like that who has everything going for them, it means that there’s some real deep psychological issues,” he explained.
“No doubt about it,” O’Reilly said. “I hope that Mr. Rice gets the treatment he needs — but again, I want to send the message that I do believe this is a plague, this violence against women all over the world.”
“No question,” Carson said, seemingly backtracking. “It’s a big problem.”
Watch the discussion, as posted online, below.
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