National AAPI organizations have condemned a recent Fox News “O’Reilly Factor” segment featuring interviews with Asian-Americans in New York’s Chinatown as racist and offensive.
The segment, hosted by “O’Reilly” correspondent Jesse Watters, mocked interviewees — including non-English speakers — in between “interspersed movie clips portraying Asian stereotypes,” according to Buzzfeed. In other parts of the segment, Watters is shown asking people if they know karate, if they can teach him how to bow, and if “everything’s made in China?”
A Fox News spokesperson declined to comment directly to Buzzfeed about the segment, while O’Reilly and Watters defended the segment as “all in good fun.”
Asian Americans Advancing Justice issued a statement slamming the Fox News segment for promoting “blatant, racist and offensive stereotypes” about Asian-Americans:
Asian Americans Advancing Justice is outraged by the blatant, racist and offensive stereotypes of Chinese Americans portrayed in a recent Fox News segment during The O’Reilly Factor.
The fact that O’Reilly termed this as “gentle fun” and Watters believed it was “all in good fun” only demonstrates a complete lack of a moral compass. It is unconscionable that a news organization would sanction a segment that laughs at a community of people, including Watters ridiculing elderly Chinese Americans who were limited English proficient.
Although The O’Reilly Factor may believe this was “all in good fun,” the segment does nothing more than play up every offensive stereotype of Asian Americans that the community has fought against for decades. What they should have done is to talk about the important role that Asian Americans can play in this upcoming election.
As mentioned by Asian Americans Advancing Justice, the AAPI population is poised to play a pivotal role in the 2016 Presidential election as one the fastest-growing demographic groups in the United States, with “more than 9.3 million newly eligible [AAPI] voters this year.”
‘The big takeaway is a continuation of what we saw in the Spring 2016 survey — an Asian-American population that was become more Democratic over time,” Karthick Ramakrishnan, the survey’s director, told NBC News. “We see that Trump is likely a significant reason for that shift. Trump’s unfavorables are like nothing we’ve seen before.”
The Asian American Journalists Association asked Fox News to apologize, saying the segment was “rude, offensive, mocking, derogatory and damaging”:
It’s 2016. We should be far beyond tired, racist stereotypes and targeting an ethnic group for humiliation and objectification on the basis of their race. Sadly, Fox News proves it has a long way to go in reporting on communities of color in a respectful and fair manner.
Host Bill O’Reilly called the segment “gentle fun.” There was nothing gentle or fun about it. It was rude, offensive, mocking, derogatory and damaging.
Fox missed a real opportunity to investigate the Asian American vote, a topic not often covered in mainstream news.
Gregory A. Cendana, executive director of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, said the segment “played into the exoticization and status of perpetual foreigner” of the Asian-American community.
Yesterday, the Asian American Journalists Association extended an invitation to the “O’Reilly Factor” to participate in a town hall with the AAPI community in New York’s Chinatown to begin a “meaningful engagement” about the incident. “We encourage Jesse Watters, his producers and other Fox News staff to attend,” said the statement from AAJA.