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.
In the middle of heated racial tensions and xenophobia permeating the U.S., Asian Americans found ourselves unexpectedly in the spotlight, thanks to Jesse Watters’ racist Chinatown segment which aired last Monday on Fox News’ darling show, The O’Reilly Factor. In that segment, Watters went to New York’s Chinatown supposedly to interview Chinese Americans regarding their political opinions.
The segment consists of condescending, unserious and flippant interviews Jesse Watters conducted with Chinese Americans — and, in fact, one Japanese American whom Watters assumed was Chinese American. Watters starts out by questioning his interviewees regarding the upcoming presidential election, and the rest of the clip shows Watters haughtily treating his interviewees as stereotypical Asians. The stereotyping includes asking a man Watters assumes to be Chinese if he knows Karate, which is from Japan. Elsewhere, Watters asks two young Asian ladies if he needed to bow before talking to them, as if they are Asians from Western movies. The most insulting parts were, probably, Watters asking older Asians (who, in all honesty, look like people who don’t understand English well) about their opinions on Trump; Fox News ridiculed these seniors’ inability to answer with awkward cricket sounds.
On October 9, 2016’s episode of Fox News Sunday, Bill O’Reilly was asked about a ‘Watters’World’ segment aired on O’Reilly Factor on October 3, 2016 that has been widely denounced as racist towards the Asian American community. Unsurprisingly, O’Reilly defended the segment and its creator, Fox News correspondent Jesse Watters, saying that the segment “wasn’t over the line.”
After airing a brief excerpt from the ‘Watters’ World’ segment, Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace asked O’Reilly for his comment on criticisms of racism. What follows is Media Matters’ video and transcript of the exchange.
After news broke yesterday of Fox News’ airing of one of the most breathtakingly racist anti-Asian network news segments in recent memory, several AAPI advocacy groups have spoken out against the video — which aired during Tuesday night’s O’Reilly Factor episode — and its creator, Jesse Watters. The Asian American Journalists’ Associationissued a statement said the segment was “rife with stereotypes.”
“It is not ‘all in good fun’ to perpetuate racist stereotypes about Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and it certainly is not ‘gentle fun’ to target or mock people who are not fluent in English. No person should be used as a prop in such a heartless manner,” said the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans.
Earlier this week, Fox’s O’Reilly Factor aired a jaw-droppingly racist segment about Asian Americans as part of its “Watters’ World” features. In it, Fox correspondent Jesse Watters traveled to New York City’s Chinatown under the auspices of discovering what Asian American voters thought about Donald trump and the presidential election.
Rather than to approach pollsters and researchers who professionally study Asian Americans’ and Pacific Islanders’ political attitudes — and who released an updated report this week on AAPI opinions, showing low support among AAPIs for the Republican Party and the race-baiting of the Trump campaign — Watters instead went for a man-on-the-street approach.
Actually, correction: Jesse Watters went for a holy-crap-that’s-so-racist-man-on-the-street approach. Because, why bother with investigative journalism when you can instead fill five minutes pretending to report about a growing but largely overlooked elecorate by being an offensive, annoying asshole to total strangers?