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Jason Bateman has a message for Bill O'Reilly

August 17, 2010 |  3:37 pm

The Jason Bateman-Jennifer Aniston parenting dramedy "The Switch" has generated a war of words with Bill O'Reilly  that's been interesting in a culture-wars sort of way (while not, incidentally, being exactly hurtful to the film's publicity efforts).

After Aniston, whose character in the movie conceives a child through artificial insemination, told reporters that "women are realizing it more and more, knowing that they don't have to settle with a man just to have that child," O'Reilly responded with a barb of his own. Aniston's comments, he said on his Fox News show, are "throwing a message out to 12-year-olds and 13-year-olds that hey, you don't need a guy, you don't need a dad."

At the film's premiere last night, Bateman was not shy about standing up for his costar and questioning the cable host's world view. "She said something that isn't really shocking. She's a current woman," Bateman told us at the afterparty. "And he's reading from a very old book."  (For full premiere coverage, check out our colleague Matt Donnelly's report at The Times' Ministry of Gossip blog.)

The dramatic comedy, in which Bateman plays the best friend to Aniston's single mother, deals as much with questions of male responsibility as it does with single motherhood. But it's this second issue that's gained cultural traction.

Bateman said that O'Reilly's comments ran counter not only to Bateman's own values but what he thought the host stood for. "He has this TV show that's supposed to be supporting diversity and the many different ways we have of doing things in this country. And the fact that he chose to say that one way is not right seems pretty antithetical to that," the star said.

He continued. "She was gracious as always in responding to it, but the way he went about it seemed like a pretty unsubtle play for ratings."

After his initial roundelay last week, O'Reilly has yet to respond to Aniston, who subsequently told People magazine that "for those [women] who've not yet found their Bill O'Reilly, I'm just glad science has provided a few other options." Given the attention O'Reilly has put on a film he disagrees with, maybe he's decided it's wiser to stay silent.

-- Steven Zeitchik


Photo: Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman. Credit: Walt Disney Pictures


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