Astonishingly Racist O'Reilly Factor Segment Goes to Chinatown, Asks Passersby If They 'Know Karate'

Imagine the most amoral teenager on the Phillips Exeter Academy lacrosse team, or a wannabe Daily Show correspondent after 40 days of electroshock therapy and blunt force trauma in an SAE fraternity basement, and you might envision something resembling the deeply unfunny O’Reilly Factor host Jesse Watters. A few days ago, Watters, in an almost historically offensive segment for “Watters’ World,” went down to Chinatown to sniff out whether Chinese people like Donald Trump, and also whether Fox News can still get away with abject racism.


Seems like a no on both counts!

In the segment, Watters asked a few questions about Trump, but mostly focused on the bigger picture: attempting to reinforce the damaging cultural stereotypes that remain humorous to Fox News’ 100-year-old viewers. He gets a foot massage and does karate, shrieking in an attempt to imitate his partner’s yells. “Am I supposed to bow to say hello?” Watters asked two women. “Is it the Year of the Dragon?” is another thing he asked. “Do they call Chinese food in China just ‘food’?” he pondered. “Do you know karate?”

After this incredibly unpleasant jaunt, Watters returned to O’Reilly’s approving teat, recalling: “They’re such a polite people, they won’t walk away and tell me to get outta here, they just sit there and say nothing!”

“It was all in good fun,” he added. Hey, quick question: Has anything good or fun ever been described with that sentence?

Facing widespread criticism for the segment, Fox News declined to comment to CNN. In a response to the segment, Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) president Paul Cheung wrote:

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.


UPDATE: Taking a quick break from retweeting compliments, Watters has responded:


Ellie is a freelance writer and former senior writer at Jezebel. She is pursuing a master's degree in science journalism at Columbia University in the fall.


This is fucked up on so, so many levels more important than this, but: karate is Japanese. They can’t even get their racism right.