Fox News contributor Jesse Watters, who hosts his own weekend show on the network, is taking heat for his segment last night on The O’Reilly Factor. Watters went to New York’s Chinatown to ask passersby about how China figured in the first Presidential debate.
At the end of the segment Bill O’Reilly acknowledged it was going to stir things up: “We’re going to get letters. It’s inevitable,” he said. But in 2016, viewer criticism doesn’t come in the form of letters. It’s tweets, Facebook shares, and sites that cover media that spread public perception. (But they’ll probably get letters too.) “Fox News fit an impressive number of offensive Asian stereotypes into 5 minutes,” is how Vox put it. Watters is currently trending on Twitter.
A Fox News spokesperson defended Watters pointing to recent comments he’s made about not intending to offend. “I don’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings. I go into it thinking how can I listen to them and have them share with me their thoughts and opinions in a way that doesn’t come across as mean,” he told IJR.
Others are recalling previous Watters segments which, intentional or not, have come off that way:
Remember that time Jesse Watters treated homeless people in Penn Station like they were subhuman? https://t.co/Pyld8Aumng
— Ned Resnikoff (@resnikoff) October 5, 2016
Here’s Jesse Watters asking a man, “are you ashamed you’re on food stamps at all?” pic.twitter.com/atqwCpuNeQ
— Leanne Naramore (@LeanneNaramore) October 5, 2016
In Jesse Watters’s defense, he has also made a racist video making fun of Italians. https://t.co/eBDQwGxgad
— daveweigel (@daveweigel) October 5, 2016
Update | 5:15 p.m.: Watters has tweeted his regret: