Today, on Fox News Sunday, Bill O’Reilly finally addressed the outrage over his offensive video about Chinatown. Instead of taking the kind of personal responsibility conservatives always advocate for others, Bill O’Reilly called it a “gentle piece” that was only criticized by the “far left” as “an attack on Fox News.”
As I wrote when the segment aired last week, Bill O’Reilly sent producer Jesse Watters to Chinatown, ostensibly to find out what Chinese-Americans think about Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. But it was soon clear that the real goal was to mock them. For example, Watters asked two women, “Am I supposed to bow to say hello?” He said to a street vendor, “I like these watches. Are they hot?”
O’Reilly even acknowledged when the segment aired that it was likely to be controversial. He said, “I know we’re going to get letters.” He then added, “It was gentle fun.”
Well, not so gentle to the people he and Watters made fun of. As New York’s Daily News reported, the Asian-American Journalists Association was not amused: “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. Daniel Squadron, who represents Chinatown in the New York senate, tweeted to Watters afterward, “Welcome to my district—hope you don’t come back.” As our Priscilla noted, a protest was held outside Fox News.
Yet, as Priscilla also noted earlier, O’Reilly made the claim that Fox had only received “less than ten” letters about the video and “zero, as far as I know” phone calls.
That was all O’Reilly needed to suggest that despite having insulted a whole neighborhood of New Yorkers, he was the real victim.
From the Fox News transcript:
HOST CHRIS WALLACE: Now, you know this piece is being widely criticized as, quote, “racist”.
O’REILLY: Do you want me to give you the accurate report?
WALLACE: Well, do you think it was over the line? Do you regret it?
O’REILLY: I would have edited it a little bit differently than it was edited. No, it wasn’t over the line.
We ran that piece on Monday of last week, OK? Five million people plus saw it live. You know how many negative letters we got? Less than ten. You know how many phone calls came in to Fox News? Zero, as far as I know. We checked, OK?
It was 36 hours later that this outrage appeared. And where did it appear? Far left websites, far left (INAUDIBLE). I read every single one. They’re all the same.
So, this is an attack on Fox News. That’s what it is. It’s happened before. I thought it was a gentle piece.
There were a few things in there I felt were over the line. The little old lady, I would have taken that out. I should have seen it before, but I’m so busy with the election that I didn’t.
But Watters is a gentle satirist. He’s worked very well for us. And we’re proud of him. This is an organized campaign. This is what they do. They’ve done it before.
But hey, Watters didn’t call anyone a “baby killer” so maybe that’s “gentle” to O’Reilly.
Watch O’Reilly’s defense below, from the October 9, 2016, Fox News Sunday. You can watch the Chinatown video below and judge for yourself.