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Fox News’ Jesse Watters faces backlash after Chinatown segment


Updated: Wednesday, October 5, 2016, 3:53 PM

Is this reporter still perpetuating Asian stereotypes in 2016?

Fox News’ Jesse Watters is facing backlash on social media and from fellow journalists following Monday’s segment of “Watters World” on “The O’Reilly Factor,” where he sprinkled in massively insensitive questions in between political ones.


Jesse Watters is shown swinging nunchuks during his “Watters World” segment. He asked people in Chinatown about the presidential election and Chinese-U.S. relations.

(Fox News/Youtube)

O’Reilly segued into the clip by discussing Trump’s harsh rhetoric toward China in the first presiential debate. So, he sent Watters to New York City’s Chinatown to find out what Chinese-Americans think of the current presidential race.

Watters begins the clip by asking if he has to bow to say hello. He also features a quick clip of (the Japanese) Mr. Miyagi in “The Karate Kid” after asking a merchant about his goods.

Putting one interviewee on the spot, he asks the man to specifically name the person he’d called “Clinton’s wife.”

Another pedestrian, an elderly woman, was silent when asked about Trump “beating up on China.”

NYC PAPERS OUT. Social media use restricted to low res file max 184 x 128 pixels and 72 dpi

Previously, Jesse Watters of Fox News tried to ask Mayor De Blasio to appear on “The O’Reilly Factor” during a Q&A part of a press conference. He was escorted out by security.

(Howard Simmons/New York Daily News)

A male interviewee gets asked the same question and softly laughs. Then the sound of crickets chirping is inserted into the clip. Watters then asks the man if it’s the year of the dragon and gets no response.

Watters continues the ridiculous questioning by asking a gentleman if Chinese food is “just called food” in China.

Following this, he begins a discussion about karate and is shown actually sparring with an instructor. It cuts to Watters spinning nunchuks. (Karate is an art mainly developed by the Japanese, although it was influenced by Chinese martial arts.)

Fox News did not respond to requests for comment about the segment.

Back in the studio, O’Reilly said that Chinatown has been notoriously “insulated” but that most respondents seemed to know what was going on. To this, Watters replied, “You thought people knew what was going on?”

“They’re such a polite people, they won’t walk away or tell me to get out of here,” Watters added. “…But I get paid not to walk away. So they had no idea.”

O’Reilly called the segment gentle fun, but acknowledged he would “get letters” about it.

They did.

ESPN sports reporter Pablo S. Torre replied, “The worst part about this bluntly racist Fox News segment is all the people who have no idea it’s bluntly racist.”

New York Times reporter Andrew Keh couldn’t believe what he saw.


Jesse Watters practices karate in his Chinatown segment.

(Fox News/Youtube)

“It’s 2016. Here is a person from Fox News going to Chinatown and asking people if they know karate,” Keh said on Twitter.

Even the entertainment world sounded off.

Actor Patton Oswalt retweeted a message that said, “How much trolling, anti-Asian racism can you pack into one news segment? More than I ever thought possible.”

In a subsequent tweet Oswalt wrote, “Jesse Waters: ‘I wanna be on TV. I don’t care why. Or for what. I don’t have talent but I want to be on TV. Lemme be on TV.’”

OCT. 1, 2015 FILE PHOTO.

In this October 1, 2015 file photo, Bill O’Reilly of the Fox News Channel program “The O’Reilly Factor,” poses for photos in New York.

(Richard Drew/AP)

Watters also ran into trouble back in May.

The Daily News reported he was supposedly involved in a physical confrontation with HuffPo journalist Ryan Grim at an after-party for the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. Grim allegedly tried to force Watters to apologize to a HuffPo editor he’d asked for an interview years earlier.

Grim allegedly took out his cell phone to record said apology. The scuffle was soon broken up and Bill O’Reilly later defended his correspondent on air. Watters called it “really small ball.”

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