After a piece on Chinese Americans stirred up accusations of racism against Fox News, “The O’Reilly Factor” and Jesse Watters, the political humorist issued two tweets expressing regret.
Watters tweeted: “As a political humorist, the Chinatown segment was intended to be a light piece, as all Watters World segments are.”
And: “My man-on-the-street interviews are meant to be taken as tongue-in-cheek and I regret if anyone found offense.”
Critics of the video segment, however, weren’t buying Watters’ apparent remorse.
In an opinion piece in The Washington Post, Erik Wemple writes: “The tweets follow requests for an apology. To judge from the words in Watters’s tweets, that apology hasn’t arrived. We’ve seen this conditional expression of regret from besieged journalists, celebrities and politicians for as long as regret has existed.”
The piece cites a response from a Twitter user who wrote: “@jessebwatters Nobody had to ‘find offense’. You’re too dumb to have a perspective so you made Ching-Chong jokes. Apologize like an adult.”
Wemple adds: “Consider that ‘Watters World’ is a subsidiary of ‘The O’Reilly Factor,’ a program that has been not apologizing for instances of racial insensitivity for years and years. No way will it change its policy after throwing around a few Asian stereotypes in purported service of lighthearted broadcasting. Another thing: That Watters & Co. would attempt to excuse their work by playing the ‘light piece’ card belies a great deal of ignorance about one of the most durable purveyors of racism: Jokes, that is.”
Meanwhile, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio also weighed in on the controversy, urging Fox News to take Watters off the air.
In a tweet, de Blasio wrote: “The vile, racist behavior of Fox’s Jesse Watters in Chinatown has no place in our city. @FoxNews — keep this guy off TV.”
You can see the original “Watters World” clip by clicking here.