Fox News Receives Massive Petition in Protest of Racist “Watters’ World” Segment

Petitions protesting 'Watters' World' were delivered to Fox News today. (Photo Credit: Reappropriate)
Petitions protesting ‘Watters’ World’ were delivered to Fox News today. (Photo Credit: Reappropriate)

On SundayThe O’Reilly Factor host Bill O’Reilly claimed that Fox News had received virtually no backlash in response to the racist ‘Watters’ World’ segment aired on the show last Monday. Claiming that the segment “wasn’t over the line,” O’Reilly blamed the bulk of the segment’s criticism on “far-left” websites, while suggesting that Fox News had received only ten irate letters after the segment aired.

Well, O’Reilly can no longer claim that to be true. Last Thursday, in the wake of several public statements issued by AAPI advocacy groups, I created a Change.org petition to help amplify the community’s outcry against Fox News, The O’Reilly Factor, and ‘Watters’ World’.

In less than 96 hours, the petition had accumulated nearly 20,000 signatures. Today, four copies of the full petition arrived at Fox News headquarters. The petition copies were sent by courier to: Jay Wallace, Executive Vice President of News & Programming; David Tabacoff, Executive Producer of The O’Reilly Factor, Bill O’Reilly, and correspondent Jesse Watters.

In total, each petition contained over 220 pages listing thousands of the petition’s supporters. Each petition weighed nearly four pounds.

This petition is proof that the Asian American community is furious, and we want Fox News to be held accountable. Twenty thousand people recorded via the petition their outrage at the racism of the Watters’ World: Chinatown Edition segment, and expressed support for the following three demands:

  • Fox News must issue a formal apology and retraction for the Watters’ World: Chinatown Edition segment.
  • Fox News must cancel future Watters’ World segments from scheduled broadcast.
  • Fox News executives, The O’Reilly Factor producers, Bill O’Reilly and Jesse Watters must agree to a sit-down meeting with representatives of the Asian American community to discuss the racist segment, as well as the broader issue of Asian American underrepresentation and misrepresentation at the network. That meeting must take place within 90 days of October 3, 2016.

Attached to each petition was a cover letter demanding that Fox News return a response to the petition’s demands by Monday, October 17, 2016.

I have a receipt showing that the petitions were delivered to Fox News. It is now up to the network to make the next move.

The ball’s in your court, Fox News. The community is watching, and waiting for your response.

Please share this post to continue to apply pressure to Fox News. Do not allow them to continue to portray the Asian American community as apathetic towards the racism on display in Watters’ segment. We cannot allow Fox News to continue to pretend that they have not received any critical feedback about this video when we can prove that they’ve physically received a petition equivalent to twenty thousand angry letters.

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  • Money won’t buy class

    It is unfortunate, that in this day and age, we are talking about how these stereotypes are still being perpetuated by ignorant people in the name of “fun”. I think they are not sincerely seeking to be hurtful, but that does not diminish the harm they inflict on a minority that is, by these same jokers, deemed less vocal than some by those who tend to frequent this network.

    “Far – left websites” have been characterized by O’Reilly for the outcries that are unjustified and people who are like-minded are telling others that they should not be oversensitive. Yet, these same O’Reilly type people are the first to cry “unfair” when their own heritage is attacked by anyone for not being descended from the Mayflower pilgrims. This pushback by a targetted community is entirely justified when a network is promoting itself as a ‘news channel” that is “fair and balanced” insists on putting out such trash as this.

    It is no coincidence that there is nary a single Asian face can be found among the Fox News Network cast members. Their biases are not limited to their treatment of minority ethnicities. Their recent scandals ousting Roger Ailes is evidence that their credo is entrenched in anything resembling “fair and balanced”.

    I must admit, that I sometimes tune in to watch that network solely for entertainment purposes, but not because I am looking for any real factual newscasts. For that, I tune into CBS News.

  • Justin Gideon

    You cannot regulate thought. This includes speech and what some people find humorous. Grow up. The world is not full of safe spaces. If you don’t like what they are saying then change the channel. Fox News is a cable network and access to it implies you would have at least 40 other channels to choose from. I looked specifically for your page when I got an e-mail from change.org about your petition. Its sad that I look for real petitions that look to solve genuine problems. Offended sensibilities is not a genuine problem but instead demonstrates a lack of backbone on your part.

  • MelaninManson

    This childish, immature response to this petition illustrates the difficulty some people have with our cosmopolitan now. The problem with the segment in question does not involve “offended sensibilities”. The concern here involves the perpetuation of coarse, dehumanizing stereotypes employed as justification for harmful legislation that specifically targets groups based on racial identification. Perpetual foreigner stereotypes, like those employed by Fox News in the odious Watters World segment, imply a consistent Otherness that legislators relied upon to pass the Chinese Exclusion Act.

    Let’s be clear — Mr. O’Reilly’s lead-in to this segment was the repeated referencing of China in a presidential debate. To inquire about a Chinese view on those references, Watters was sent to NYC’s Chinatown. From conception through execution, this segment operated under the assumption that to be Asian is to be foreign, that a citizen could not reflect Chinese ancestry and American nationality. This is beyond ignorant, it’s prejudiced, and no American citizen need suffer a major American corporation that profits from bigoted caricatures of their racial group.

    Free speech ideals do not promise that individuals and/or corporations should profit from dehumanizing, racially prejudiced speech.

    To pretend that such speech has any place in mainstream American political or social discourse is to misunderstand America itself. I’d suggest you should take your own advice and ‘grow up’ Mr. Gideon, but that would imply that I found you capable of maturity. Given your argument’s weakness, such an assumption would prove highly optimistic. You’re more than welcome to try again, when you’re older.

  • Justin Gideon

    To start this off, words do matter. The title of the petition claims Watters is “racist”. By definition that is not true. Nothing in that segment inferred a superiority by Mr. Watters or an inferiority of those he interviewed. He also did not prevent them from executing any of their rights based solely on the ancestry. You miss used the term racist. This is stereotyping used for comedic effect and every race does it. If the prejudice speech hurts you then where are your petitions against The Daily Show, most shows on MSNBC that depict conservative voters as stupid rednecks? Where are you petitions for any of these “insulting” shows that use stereotypes for comedy? They don’t exist. This is your only listed petition on change.org. So are you saying stereotyping should only be attacked if done by white people? Are you saying that only white people have zero right to stereotypical comedy and they shouldn’t be allowed to do it? That would be, by actual definition, racist. Are you a racist? If no then be honest with yourself and everyone else. Admit this is about nothing more than offended sensibilities. This petition is not pushing for real change in race relations nor is it a stand against racism. At its best, what it achieves is a further watering down of those issues to ensure real issues never get resolved.

  • MelaninManson

    Watters’ bigotry, while self-evident given this poor attempt at comedy, is less the issue here than the ability to greenlight a segment like this for prime-time viewing on a major opinion journalism show on the most profitable American cable-news network.

    No one need comment on every example of media bias and race possible to justify a concern with this specific example of media bias and race. While I certainly do not endorse or support demeaning commentary about White Americans in mass media, the presence of that material in cable opinion journalism (however minute) is not related to concerns about anti-Asian American bias within cable opinion journalism.

    Even were ‘redneck’ references at a fever pitch on the O’Reilly Factor, Fox News and similar outlets choose many educated, credentialed White American guests to discuss a variety of topics on their air. Given this, Fox News and similar news networks would display multiple takes on what it means to be White, even if they spent exorbitant time on air lampooning White people as uncouth and uneducated.

    In contrast, Asian American pundits and expects are rarely booked on Fox News and similar cable news networks. So when Fox News producers air openly anti-Asian stereotypes with impunity, as the Watters’ World segment in question displays, we don’t find a number of educated, credentialed Asian American guests that offer the audience multiple takes on what it means to be Asian American.

    Frankly, I’m not concerned with a veneer of even-handedness that privileges White sensibilities at the expense of people of color. Mr. Gideon, you’ve yet to provide a substantive critique of the petition. That the Watters’ World segment at question presents racist stereotypes for comedic effect is not in dispute, nor is the ability to question Fox News’ journalistic ethics given their airing of such odious hatespeech.

    Really, young man — this is about much more than offended sensibilities. This is about, in part, the inability of the conservative movement in this country to respect human difference. Segments like this that forgo civic responsibility to revel in infantile expression are exactly why modern conservatism fails to excite people who are not straight, White, male, and economically comfortable. You’re welcome to defend that social insularity, but you’ll lose that debate every time.

  • RizingZan

    The only sentence that is true is “you cannot regulate thought.” By that same token, people such as Jenn can express her views in what is clearly offensive to a good chunk of people. And there is much more than just “offended sensibilities” here, its called being tired. You can only “change the channel” so many times until you realize, woah, I think people of my kind are actually being offended here.

    You also have to understand where anything remotely racist comes from (the root). Stuff done by Watters is the start. When you have people like this saying something, and then you have people believing in it, it further perpetuates stereotypes/expectations for just about anyone. Its basically tied to cultural brainwashing. You’ll be surprised what the social media can do (as it has been doing for a long time now). Social media should be shallow, but again you’ll be surprised at who takes what seriously, and to what extent.

    Its great to be able to have a “backbone” and just shoo it away. I am one of those that is able to do that (from a personal standpoint), BUT I understand the problem (e.g. its not just about me) and the outcries by people such as Jenn.

    TL;DR: If people can do and say shit, then Jenn can do and say shit (so why bother with Jenn’s opinions or the petition or commenting on the comments?). There is quite a social element however than just being emotional or sensible. Perhaps the petition will not create change, or go to the root cause, but its the only way for these people to tell people like Watters that he is wrong (AKA to be taken seriously).

  • trer24

    Aren’t you trying to regulate thought by telling people that they shouldn’t feel offended because somehow that bothers you? It’s quite simple. FOX and Jesse Watters said what they wanted. Now others get to respond including trying to get a petition going. That’s how free speech works. No government involvement, just two groups responding to each other using legal methods. Only you seem offended because you think the “liberals” will somehow take away Fox and South Park from you. You are 100% free to start your own counter petition, you know.