Fox News and The O’Reilly Factor correspondent Jesse Watters has responded to claims that a segment he filmed in New York City’s Chinatown was racist by saying the clip was meant to be “tongue-in-cheek.”
“My man-on-the-street interviews are meant to be taken as tongue-in-cheek and I regret if anyone found offense,” Watters said in a message on Twitter Wednesday.
“As a political humorist, the Chinatown segment was intended to be a light piece, as all Watters World segments are,” he said.
The clip shows Watters taking a trip to Chinatown to interview residents about the 2016 presidential election and was quickly greeted by condemnation on social media and by organizations like the Asian American Journalists Association.
The video opens with Watters asking two women if he should “bow to say hello” and requesting interview subjects to “take care of North Korea for us.” Watters also asked other Chinatown residents if they know Karate (a Japanese martial art) and made fun of many the video’s subjects’ accents. The video also uses archival clips of Asian caricatures from old movies.
“It’s 2016. We should be far beyond tired, racist stereotypes and targeting an ethnic group for humiliation and objectification on the basis of their race,” Paul Cheung, president of the Asian American Journalists Association wrote in a statement calling for an apology from Fox News. “Sadly, Fox News proves it has a long way to go in reporting on communities of color in a respectful and fair manner.”
A spokesperson at Fox News pointed to Watters’ Twitter account as a response
The Internet had plenty to say about Watters’ comments.
Watters later tweeted that the video was intended to be humorous, but based on these responses, it’s worth asking at what expense.