O'Reilly Factor Producer Will Meet With Asian Journalists About Offensive Chinatown Segment

Image screengrab via Fox News
Image screengrab via Fox News

More than a week after The O’Reilly Factor aired a bad and racist man-on-street video shot in Chinatown, the show’s executive producer has agreed to have a productive chat with members of the Asian American Journalists Association.


The Fox News “Watters World” segment originally aired on October 3 and featured host Jesse Watters roaming the streets of Chinatown, bombarding passersby with stereotypical questions like, “Is it the Year of the Dragon?” and “Do they call Chinese food in China just ‘food’?”

According to Variety, AAJA president Paul Cheung passed on a request to be interviewed for The O’Reilly Factor last Friday. However, the show’s executive producer David Tabacoff will reportedly speak with the organization during a sit-down at the Museum of Chinese in America in New York in the near future:

Among the goals of the meeting: to ensure fair and accurate coverage of Asian Americans in news media and preventing this type of coverage in the future.

World peace achieved? After the video got passed around online, Watters tweeted that it was “intended to be a light piece,” though it actually came across as both basic and obtuse. Bill O’Reilly doubled down by calling it “satire.” The AAJA, which referred to the segment as “rude, offensive, mocking, derogatory and damaging,” called for an official apology from Fox News.

Though plenty of smart news crews pull off satirical man-on-street segments, in this case it was unclear what point or statement was being made with the video other than cultural mocking. Plus, it sounds like Watters was annoying as hell to the participants, according to a post on the AAJA’s site:

Shimizu, the chief technology officer at a design firm in Chinatown, said he initially agreed to be interviewed out of curiosity. But he soon grew uncomfortable, he said.

“It was not explained what kind of news program they were trying to make. Actually, I had no idea,” said Shimizu, who moved to New York from Japan three years ago. “I just started to feel like this interview was a bit weird, and I tried to escape from that.”

After spending a few minutes with Watters, Shimizu tried to slip into a nearby bank. But Watters stopped him and asked him to demonstrate another karate punch.

“After that,” Shimizu said, “I was finally liberated.”

No word on whether Watters or O’Reilly will join the meeting.

Culture Editor, Jezebel


Brandon V. Fletcher

This is not satire. People that use the satire defense don’t know what it means or assume other people don’t. They think because The Colbert Report is satire then you can just make a joke and say “oh but it’s satire.” It doesn’t work like that.