On Tuesday Fox News host Bill O’Reilly apologized after backlash for mocking a black congresswoman’s hair.
A clip of Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) delivering a speech on the floor of the House of Representatives which O’Reilly reacted to during an appearance on “Fox & Friends,” saying: “I didn’t hear a word she said. I was looking at the James Brown wig. If we have a picture of James Brown — it’s the same wig.”
Backlash on Twitter:
On Twitter, users denounced O’Reilly’s remarks as both racist and sexist, his name was trending Tuesday morning and afternoon.
On Tuesday afternoon, O’Reilly issued a statement expressing regret for the remarks: “As I have said many times, I respect Congresswoman Maxine Waters for being sincere in her beliefs,” he said. “I said that again today on Fox & Friends calling her ‘old school.’ Unfortunately, I also made a jest about her hair which was dumb. I apologize.”
O’Reilly, who is a top rated host on cable news, actually drew some pushback before leaving the “Fox & Friends” set.
Brian Kilmeade, one of the program’s male co-hosts, laughed wholeheartedly at O’Reilly’s comment, but Ainsley Earhardt, the lone female host, spoke up in Waters defense saying “I have to defend her on that. You can’t go after a woman’s looks. I think she’s very attractive.”
To which O’Reilly replied saying: “I didn’t say she wasn’t attractive. I love James Brown. But it’s the same hair!”
He then described Waters a “sincere individual” and said she should be commended for speaking her mind, saying “Whatever she says she believes. She’s not a phony, and that’s old school.”
Not the first incident:
This O’Reilly’s clip reminded observers of an old clip where Waters was on the receiving end of another racially charged remark from a different Fox News personality years earlier. Fox host Eric Bolling said that Waters should “step away from the crack pipe,” in 2012.
This is not the first time O’Reilly has faced charges of racism and sexism. In his bid for laughs, he has been known to joke about the physical appearance of some high-profile women.
In 2015, at a comedy program in Long Island, O’Reilly ridiculed the weight of both Rosie O’Donnell and Hillary Clinton.
O’Reilly imagined a farcical scenario, in a jab at the former secretary of state, where the Clinton Foundation was forced to return thousands of pantsuits to the Chinese government
O’Reilly adopting a fake Chinese accent and said: “We don’t want them back. They don’t fit anyone here in this country.'”