During the September 25 edition of CNN Newsroom, co-host Don Lemon and anchor Rick Sanchez discussed the recent statement by Fox News host Bill O'Reilly that he was surprised "there was no difference between Sylvia's restaurant [in Harlem] and any other restaurant in New York City ... even though [Sylvia's is] run by blacks." Sanchez stated that "every African-American that I've talked to since this -- and my God, have I gotten a bevy of phone calls on this, inside and outside the business -- people are actually offended. They ... call this a subtle type of racism. It's not the 'hit you over the head with a hammer' type; it's the 'velvet glove' type." He then said that, during a September 24 phone conversation, O'Reilly "didn't want any part of it" and "was screaming the entire conversation," adding, "He was not happy with me." As Media Matters for America noted, on the September 24 edition of CNN's Out in the Open, Sanchez also recounted his "animated" conversation with O'Reilly, saying that O'Reilly denied any "racial intent" in his comments and described the story as "a hatchet job by Media Matters."
Later in the September 25 segment, Lemon said: "Rick, we got a statement from Fox News, and here's what it says: 'This is nothing more than left-wing outlets stirring up false racism accusations for ratings. It's sad.' " According to the on-screen graphic, the statement was from Bill Shine, Fox News' senior vice president of programming.