Fox News Reporter’s Racist Chinatown Segment

Jamie Doo, Writer

On October 6, Fox News correspondent Jesse Watters was blasted by critics regarding his ‘racist’ news segment, Watters’ World: Chinatown Edition that he conducted on The O’Reilly Factor. This five-minute video sparked a justifiable backlash against Watters’ use of stereotypical tropes throughout his broadcast, mocking the Asian-Americans that he interviewed in Chinatown, Manhattan.

     As a result, elected officials and activists protested outside the Manhattan headquarters of Fox News, expressing to the Washington Times the “racist” and “demeaning” conduct should not have been allowed to be televised on national air. Bill O’Reilly, the show’s host, claimed that the segment was merely “gentle fun.” However, it was regarded as the opposite.

     Anger came from many sources- New York Mayor Bill de Blasio declared the segment “vile,” and Councilman Peter Koo delivered a statement saying that “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.”

     Tweets from Senator Marie Hironzo, the first Asian woman to be elected to the Senate, and Representative Judy Chu, the first Chinese-American woman elected to Congress and the chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, showed their disgust at the racist segment.

      The segment starts with music from the song “Kung Fu Fighting” by Carl Douglas. As the trope of the Oriental riff strums in the background, stereotypes begin to run rampant.

     Watters stalks and harasses multiple people on the streets for interviews, but that isn’t the worst part. Those he does encounter, he asks them a series of purposefully cliched questions about Chinese culture. He asks two women “Am I supposed to bow to say hello?” It gets even worse when he badgers an elderly Chinese woman who supports Hillary Clinton, yelling that “Trump [is] beating up on China.”

     It’s not the first time that Fox News has been heavily criticized due to their controversial material. But this definitely does not excuse their actions by any long stretch.

      It’s very shameful as an Asian-American to see this culture of racism and sexism that mocks the disenfranchised members of American society. It’s also very shameful to see that such a popular broadcast has the audacity to attempt to retract their past actions, despite the fact that they have the same scandals year after year. “Watter’s World” is a clear example of a self-obsessed, narrow-minded show that only sees the past, and does not strive to improve for the future.