AALDEF criticized a racist segment that appeared on Fox News Channel’s “The O’Reilly Report” on Oct. 4, 2016, featuring interviews of people in New York’s Chinatown by Fox commentator Jesse Watters. AALDEF’s letter to Fox News Channel co-presidents Jack Abernathy and Bill Shine can be downloaded here; it also appears below the controversial Fox News video clip.
October 7, 2016
Jack Abernethy and Bill Shine
Fox News Channel
1211 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10036
Dear Messrs. Abernathy and Shine:
On Tuesday, Oct. 4, I saw the “Watters’ World-Chinatown edition” on “The O’Reilly Factor” and was appalled to see Fox News commentator Jesse Watters ridiculing people in New York’s Chinatown. In his 4-1/2 minute segment, Watters invoked a full range of culturally-insensitive and cringeworthy Asian stereotypes about bowing, fake watches, English subtitles for persons speaking with accents, herbs, karate, foot massages, and more. His “interviews” were interspersed with film clips designed to make the interviewees look foolish. It was particularly offensive when Watters badgered elderly Chinese Americans, who likely did not speak English or understand why they were on TV.
In the banter that followed, Bill O’Reilly’s characterization of the Watters’ World Chinatown segment as “gentle fun” was another slap in the face. O’Reilly acknowledged this piece would generate complaints from the Asian American community, and he was right. My organization and many other Asian American groups and individuals have spoken out on social media to criticize this failed attempt at political humor. Outdated anti-Asian stereotypes are not funny, and they shouldn’t be featured on “The O’Reilly Report.” Jesse Watters’ non-apology on Twitter merely added insult to injury.
If Fox News has any interest in the Asian American community, it should do some real reporting about Asian Americans and their diverse political views instead of maligning people in Chinatown with tired stereotypes and racist humor.
For more information, contact:
Margaret Fung, Executive Director