Bill O’Reilly is under fire after mocking Congresswoman Maxine Waters’ ‘James Brown’ wig during his appearance on Fox & Friends this morning.
“I didn’t hear a word she said,” O’Reilly said after watching a clip of the congresswoman speaking on the floor of the House of Representatives. “I was looking at the James Brown wig.”
“I have to defend her on that,” Fox & Friends’ Ainsley Earhardt interjected. “You can’t go after a woman’s looks. I think she is very attractive.”
“I didn’t say she wasn’t attractive,” O’Reilly said. “I love James Brown. But it’s the same hair!” He continued by praising the congresswoman for being “sincere” and not a “phony.”
Watch part of the exchange below:
African-American woman in Congress speaks up against the president, Bill O'Reilly says he won't listen because of her hair. pic.twitter.com/GVOkZNBNX9— Media Matters (@mmfa) March 28, 2017
The comments began trending instantly, as other journalists denounced O’Reilly’s comparison of Water’s wig to that of the late black singer as ‘sexist’ and ‘racist.’ Angered social media users are calling for Fox News to fire O’Reilly over his comments.
Bill O'Reilly is a sexist racist pig. Disgusted.— ..slay. (@kissiadee) March 28, 2017
Others defended the anchor, saying his comments were mean, but nonetheless did not display racism.
Not defending Bill O'Reilly, wrong to mock Waters- but if you call for him to resign, you better condemn every lib who mocks my blonde hair.— Liz Wheeler (@Liz_Wheeler) March 28, 2017
Wow. Must be a slow news day when "Bill O'Reilly" can trigger millions of leftists over a mean hair comment.— 🎙Black Russian🎙 (@StacyOnTheRight) March 28, 2017
O’Reilly responded with a public, swift apology:
As I have said many times, I respect Congresswoman Maxine Waters for being sincere in her beliefs. I said that again today on Fox & Friends calling her ‘old school.’ Unfortunately, I also made a jest about her hair which was dumb. I apologize.
Fox & Friends was accused of racist coverage of Maxine Waters in the past. Social media users called for Eric Bolling after he said she should “step away from the crack pipe. Step away from the Xanax” after she called Republicans John Boehner and Eric Cantor “demons.”
Nothing new from Fox News, here is another Fox host telling Maxine Waters to "step away from the crack pipe" pic.twitter.com/p6R4SMrRD2— Media Matters (@mmfa) March 28, 2017