New York, NY – Two days ago, the O’Reilly show on Fox News broadcast an offensive, racist segment titled “Watters’ World: Chinatown edition”. In the nearly five-minute clip, the interviewer walks around Manhattan’s Chinatown mocking the elderly, making fun of residents’ accents, and reinforcing some of the worst prejudices and stereotypes against Asians.
Today, Assemblymembers Ron Kim, Comptroller Scott Stringer, Congressmember Grace Meng, Public Advocate Leticia James and members of the Black, Latino, and Asian Caucus were joined by their colleagues and community members in condemning the segment. They called on Fox News to issue an apology and retract the segment, as well as hold the individuals involved in producing it responsible.
Additionally, the Assemblymembers submitted an official letter to the CEO of Fox News LLC, Rupert Murdoch, demanding an immediate public apology and retraction of the segment from their online sites. A copy of the letter can be found here: Dropbox Link
Assemblyman Ron Kim stated: “This offensive, racist segment was somehow created and approved to be broadcast into the homes of millions of people. In passing off its demeaning stereotypes and shameful ignorance as ‘all in good fun’, it only further insults the entire Asian American community. We are calling on Fox News to issue an official apology and completely retract this clip. We are also prepared to take this fight to the next level by calling for public boycotts of all corporations who sponsor this show until they comply with our community’s demands.
Every day we see more and more of these kinds of views expressed. Trump’s candidacy has brought this intolerance into mainstream society, and instead of countering this, Fox’s O’Reilly Factor has decided to reinforce these same divisive and racist sentiments. We are here to say to Watters, O’Reilly, Fox News and all of America, that we, too, are American, and this type of racism is un-American and unacceptable.”
NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer stated: “New York is home to some of the most diverse communities in the world, and we know that our differences make us stronger, not weaker. This segment is despicable— there’s no place in our City for bigotry, and every New Yorker deserves an apology from those responsible.”
Public Advocate Letitia James stated: “There is nothing funny about spreading stereotypes and perpetuating racism. As allies and leaders, we won’t allow anyone to mock the Asian-American community unchallenged. Fox News missed a chance to explore the real challenges and opportunities found in our communities and instead attempted to portray an insulting caricature. Let’s use this moment to empower, engage, and celebrate, not denigrate the many contributions Asian Americans to our society.”
Congresswoman Grace Meng stated: “I was dismayed at the recent Watters’ World segment in Chinatown. The segment crossed the line. This public mocking of Chinese individuals was offensive and disrespectful to Asian Americans, and it only promulgated the negative stereotypes that Asian Americans unfortunately continue to endure. Asian Americans add to the rich and diverse fabric of American life, and the Asian American community should never be treated as second-class citizens for the amusement of others.”
Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito stated: “This so called news segment was disgusting, racist and served no purpose other than to denigrate Asian-American New Yorkers. This is not the first time this segment has resorted to these kinds of tactics and they should be ashamed by their actions. I am proud to stand with Assembly Member Kim, Congresswoman Meng, Council Members Margaret Chin, Peter Koo and the rest of the community to denounce this clear and obvious racism.”
Councilman Peter Koo stated: “Passing off this blatantly racist television segment as “gentle fun” not only validates racist stereotypes, it encourages them. The entire segment smacks of willful ignorance by buying into the perpetual foreigner syndrome. How is it, that in New York City in 2016, this is still ok? Short answer: it’s not, and it is unfortunate that Fox News needs to be reminded of that.”
Councilwoman Margaret Chin stated: “I’m here to tell Fox News that the Asian American community is no joke, and we are definitely not laughing. We implore News Corp. to hold their anchors and correspondents accountable for their racist and hateful actions. We demand a real apology, not just ‘regrets.’ And we demand that Bill O’Reilly discontinue the ‘Watters’ World’ segment immediately. Jesse Watters has used his nationwide megaphone enough times to stereotype women, African Americans and now Chinese Americans. This hateful form of ‘entertainment’ has no business being on a news program. In this political climate caused by the Republican nominee for President, racist stereotypes perpetuated by a national news network can inspire attacks on members of our communities, and must be addressed. I thank Assemblymember Kim and my fellow elected officials and community activists for standing with me to say, ‘We will not be silent! Enough is enough!’”
Assemblywoman Nily Rozic stated: “Jesse Watters and his defenders claim that the tone of his “Watters’ World” segments are intended to be humorous and in jest. Yet his approach to his Chinatown segment is as tone deaf and outdated as a Fu Manchu film. If Watters and the Fox News team were truly interested in learning about the Chinese community and their interests, he would visit Selfhelp Rosenthal, which is a senior center and an election day poll site that receives hundreds of Chinese seniors daily, or speak to the Executive Director of the Flushing Chinese Business Association, who just became the first ever Chinese Democratic district leader in the area. One would think that in 2016 we would not have to issue reminders that the Chinese community is not a punchline but unfortunately, we gather today calling on Fox News to formally apologize and retract this racist segment that cannot be excused as having been aired in ‘gentle fun.”
Assemblyman Marcos A. Crespo, Chair of the Assembly Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force stated: “History is ripe with the horrors committed against humanity when we devalue, trivialize and stigmatize others. Fox News, in its attempt to appeal to the worst of human behavior, increase its television ratings, and feed the ignorance of many of its viewers has disguised bigotry with journalism. I join hands with community leaders, fellow lawmakers, and all decent people in calling on the Fox network to apologize and refrain from using the public airways to degrade and belittle the millions of racial and ethnic minorities that make up the great fabric of our nation,”
Assemblyman Peter J. Abbate, Jr. stated “I am outraged that Fox News and Bill O’Reilly would air such a flagrant racist video under the guise of being news. The stereotypes displayed in Jesse Watter’s piece are demeaning and disrespectful to Asian-Americans, who contribute to the vibrancy of New York City. The residents of the city of New York welcome people of all backgrounds and celebrate the diversity they bring instead of ridiculing them. Asian-Americans are one of the fastest growing populations and are contributing to the fabric of this city and our great country in many ways. With our political climate as divisive as it is now, Fox News chose to promote stereotypes instead of taking the Asian-American community seriously.”
Yuh-Line Niou, Candidate for the 65th Assembly District, stated:I am utterly shocked and disgusted by the blatant racism against Asian-Americans that Fox News host Bill O’Reilly expressed during his show. Sadly, this isn’t the first or last time that racism against Asian-Americans has reared its ugly head. I am proud to be an immigrant and I am proud to be an American. My parents came here seeking the unique freedom that America offers, and taught their children to always work hard and contribute to the progress of our nation. The actions of Mr. O’Reilly and Fox News stand in stark contrast to the values of this country. I speak for every family in Chinatown and across this city in calling for a full retraction and apology.
OCA-NY stated: “OCA-NY is outraged by the “Watters’ World – Chinatown” segment on Fox New’s “The O’Reilly Factor”. Reporter Jesse Watters’ report on Chinese Americans’ views on the presidential election trivialized and mocked the Chinatown community when vulnerable, monolingual seniors of the Chinatown community were exploited for the benefit of Fox News. Despite the numerous accounting, banking, pharmacies, medical offices in Chinatown, Jesses Watters instead chose to portray stereotypical images of massage parlors, accents, martial arts, and things less American. We are demanding an apology from Jesse Watters, Bill O’ Reilly and Fox News. In addition, we are requesting a meeting with Fox News executives to discuss cultural sensitivity training for their personnel.
Source: Assemblymember Ron Kim’s Office