Trump Rewards O'Reilly Minion Who Previously Aired Racist And Misogynist Reports

››› ››› ZACHARY PLEAT & CRISTINA LóPEZ G.

Fox News host Jesse Watters will interview President Donald Trump for his show Watters World. Watters, who originally appeared on Fox as a correspondent for The O’Reilly Factor, has a track record of disparaging segments about immigrants, women, Asian-Americans and African-Americans. He has also produced reports in which he shamed homeless Americans, mocked members of the LGBTQ community, and “followed, harassed, and ambushed” a journalist.

President Trump Will Sit Down For An Interview With Fox’s Jesse Watters

Fox News: Watters To Interview Trump, Will Air On Watters’ World. Business Insider reported that “Fox News host Jesse Watters will fly aboard Air Force One on Wednesday for an interview with President Donald Trump.” A network spokesperson confirmed that the interview will address “Republicans' replacement for the Affordable Care Act, the economy and tax reform, and immigration,” and will air on the March 18 edition of Watters’ World. [Business Insider, 3/14/17]

Watters Has Defended Trump And His Policies From Criticism

Defending Trump’s Muslim Ban, Watters Told An Imam: “You Have To Admit There Is A Muslim Problem In The World.” While guest hosting the February 17 edition of The O’Reilly Factor, Watters said to an imam he was interviewing, “You have to admit there is a Muslim problem in the world.” He then used terrorist attacks committed by Muslims to justify Trump’s travel bans as “compassionate” because “you are protecting all Americans, Muslims included, from Muslim extremist attacks.” [Fox News, The O’Reilly Factor, 2/17/17]

Watters Denied Trump Is “Racially Insensitive” Because He’s Met With Black People. While guest hosting the February 17 edition of The O’Reilly Factor, Watters also defended Trump from criticism that he is “racially insensitive,” saying, “there's pictures of him with Sharpton, with Jesse Jackson, everybody, Don King. I mean, this is not a guy that, you know, doesn't like African-Americans.” [Fox News, The O’Reilly Factor, 2/17/17]

Watters Has A History Of Poor-Shaming And Making Racially Insensitive, Transphobic, Homophobic, And Sexist Comments

Fox News’ Jesse Watters Was Responsible For Widely Condemned “Chinatown” Segment “Rife With Racist Stereotypes.” During the October 3 edition of Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor, host Bill O’Reilly ran a segment featuring Jesse Watters asking offensive, stereotype-laden questions to Asian-Americans in New York City’s Chinatown such as, “Do you know karate?” and “Am I supposed to bow to say hello?” Lawmakers condemned Watters’ segment as “vile” and “xenophobic,” and the president of the Asian American Journalists Association described it as “rife with racist stereotypes.”

[Fox News, The O’Reilly Factor10/3/16]

Watters Has Repeatedly Produced Dehumanizing Coverage Of New York's Homeless Population. As a correspondent of Fox's The O'Reilly Factor, Watters has repeatedly produced mocking, dehumanizing coverage of the homeless residents in New York. In one segment Watters asked a young girl, "Do you ever feel scared when you see homeless people?" Watters continued his dehumanizing coverage the following month, agreeing with host Bill O'Reilly that homeless people "shouldn't be allowed to destroy neighborhoods." [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor6/29/157/27/15]

Watters: "Affirmative-Action ... Handouts, The Welfare State," And Obamacare Exist To Eradicate Sins Of Slavery. While guest-hosting the June 25 edition of Fox's The O'Reilly Factor, Watters asked whether "white supremacy causes African-American men to not get married to women that they have babies with," and suggested that "affirmative action ... handouts, the welfare state, Obamacare" all exist "to make sure that the sins of slavery have been eradicated." [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor6/25/15]

Watters Said Single Women "Depend On Government" Because They Don't Have Husbands To Depend On. On the July 1, 2014, edition of Fox's Outnumbered, Watters mocked Hillary Clinton's statements on reproductive rights and argued that Clinton was trying to get "the single lady's vote ... the Beyoncé voters" who "depend on government because they're not depending on their husbands." [Fox News, Outnumbered7/1/14]

Watters Made Both A Sexist Comment And Mocked Immigrants During A Segment About New York City Cab Drivers. The July 1, 2013, edition of The O'Reilly Factor aired a segment in which Watters interviewed New York city immigrant cab drivers, mocking their accents and referring to a female driver as a "babe, with the red dress ... the nicest dressed taxi cab driver I've ever seen." [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor7/1/13]

Watters Suggested Statutory Rape Of An Adolescent Boy Isn't As Bad If The Female Perpetrator Is Attractive. While appearing as a guest on Fox's Outnumbered, Watters suggested the statutory rape of a 16-year-old boy wasn't as bad if the female perpetrator is attractive, stating, "If you're a 16-year-old kid and you have sex with your best friend's mom, you usually get high fives." Watters continued, "She's not that attractive, so you might not have that kind of reception." When pressed, he went on to justify his comment by saying, "This is how regular guys think." [Fox News, Outnumbered6/11/14]

Watters Joined Bill O'Reilly In Laughter While Speculating On Interviewee's Gender Identity. During his "Watters' World" segment on the October 15 edition of The O'Reilly Factor, Watters mockingly speculated on an interviewee's gender identity and joined host Bill O'Reilly in laughter:

BILL O'REILLY: Now, that person, she can't vote because she has felonies?

JESSE WATTERS: She has felonies, and I asked her which felonies and she couldn't remember.

O'REILLY: I don't know if that was a she, though.   

WATTERS: He. He-she?

O'REILLY: It was -- right.

WATTERS: I don't make those types of judgments.

O'REILLY: You didn't get the resume?

WATTERS: No. I didn't want to.

O'REILLY: No? You didn't get --

WATTERS: It's OK.

O'REILLY: OK. We're not making fun, we're trying to define. [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor10/15/15]

Watters Has Mocked Expressions Of LGBT Pride And Perpetuated Damaging Stereotypes About The LGBT Community. In 2014, Watters went to San Francisco's annual pride parade to interview attendees, producing a segment in which he played on tired and disparaging tropes by perpetuating false conservative stereotypes that depict gay people as promiscuous or predatory. After his segment, Watters told O'Reilly, "No one assaulted me." [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor7/8/14]

Watters Produced A Transphobic Segment About New York's Mermaid Parade. During the July 11, 2013, edition of The O'Reilly Factor, the "Watters World" segment followed Watters as he mockingly interviewed attendees to Brooklyn's historic Mermaid Parade, stigmatizing the transgender community with disparaging comments and including an inserted clip that featured a character vomiting into a toilet. [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor7/11/13]

Watters Defended Trump's Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric, Saying He Wouldn't Let "Illegal Aliens" Come And "Murder Our Women." While appearing as a guest host on Fox's Outnumbered on July 15, 2015, Jesse Watters defended Donald Trump's disparaging rhetoric against immigrants, saying "President Trump" wouldn't "let illegal aliens come to the country and murder our women." [Fox News, Outnumbered7/15/15]

ThinkProgress: Watters "Followed, Harassed, And Ambushed" A Journalist Who Had Criticized Bill O'Reilly While She Was On Vacation. After highlighting Bill O'Reilly's track record of victim-blaming rape survivors in a March 2009 story for ThinkProgress, former managing editor Amanda Terkel reported that she herself had been "ambushed" and "accosted" by Watters while on vacation. As reported by Terkel:

This weekend, while on vacation, I was ambushed by O'Reilly's top hit man, producer Jesse Watters, who accosted me on the street and told me that because I highlighted O'Reilly's comments, I was causing "pain and suffering" to rape victims and their families. He of course offered no proof to back up this claim, instead choosing to shout questions at me.

I expect O'Reilly to air this "interview" at some point this week, possibly as early as tonight. I have no expectation that he will show the entire altercation or give the entire story about what happened, so here is the full account, offering a glimpse inside the O'Reilly harrassment machine:

-- The Stalking: Watters and his camera man accosted me at approximately 3:45 p.m. on Saturday, March 21, in Winchester, VA, which is a two-hour drive from Washington, DC. My friend and I were in this small town for a short weekend vacation and had told no one about where we were going. I can only infer that the two men staked out my apartment and then followed me for two hours. Looking back, my friend and I remember seeing their tan SUV following us for much of the trip.

-- The Ambush: Shortly after checking into our lodgings, we emerged and immediately saw two men walking toward us calling out my name. Watters said he was from Fox News, but never said his or his companion's name, nor did he say he was with The O'Reilly Factor.

-- The Surprise Attack: Watters immediately began asking me why I was causing "pain and suffering" to the Alexa Foundation. He never gave me the context for his questions. Confused, I repeatedly asked him what he was talking about and whether he could refresh my memory, but he just continued shouting his question.

-- The Evasion: I said that it was inappropriate for O'Reilly to imply that just because a woman may be drunk and/or dressed in a certain way, she should expect to be raped. Watters asked me whether I had listened to the interview (which I had) and claimed that O'Reilly had made the comments in the context of a commentary on Mel Gibson/drunkenness. When I tried to ascertain why he was attacking ThinkProgress in particular -- even though other sites had also covered the story -- he said that we were part of the "smear pipeline," which also included the "Soros-funded" Media Matters. He ignored my comments when I asked if Fox News also smears people.

-- Setting A Guilt Trap: Watters ended the charade by demanding that I look into the camera and apologize to the Alexa Foundation and rape victims. I told them that I don't speak through Fox News and if someone from the Alexa Foundation would like to personally call me, I'd be happy to speak with that person.

-- More Stalking: The camera man then continued to film me as I walked down the block. After a few minutes while I waited at the light to cross the street, Watters called him back and they left. [ThinkProgress, 3/23/09

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