O’Reilly Factor correspondent Jesse Watters has responded to the wave of criticism accusing a segment he did about New York City’s Chinatown of being racist.
“As a political humorist, the Chinatown segment was intended to be a light piece, as all Watters World segments are,” Watters tweeted Wednesday afternoon. “My man-on-the-street interviews are meant to be taken as tongue-in-cheek and I regret if anyone found offense.”
Watters’ clip on Monday night was scored to the 1974 disco hit “Kung Fu Fighting” by Carl Douglas. Watters asked questions about the 2016 presidential election and about Chinese culture to a handful of people in the New York neighborhood. Shots from The Karate Kid featuring late actor Pat Morita, who was Japanese-American, were spliced into the segment. While most respondents replied, some interviewees were presented as not understanding English; one person’s reply was paired with subtitles, even though his reply was discernible. In the studio with O’Reilly, Watters said the video “was all in good fun.”
Several Asian-American organizations criticized the segment. “The segment was rife with racist stereotypes, drew on thoughtless tropes and openly ridiculed Asian Americans,” Paul Cheung, president of the Asian American Journalists Association, told Media Matters. “Fox missed a real opportunity to investigate the Asian American vote, a topic not often covered in the mainstream news media.”
“Seriously, can this @FoxNews @oreillyfactor piece with interviews in NY #Chinatown be any more racist?” the Asian-American Legal Defense and Education Fund tweeted Tuesday night.
When reached by EW, Fox News pointed to Watters’ tweets.
See the segment below.