Ac­tivists con­demn ‘O’Reilly Fac­tor’ seg­ment on Chi­na­town

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - KICKOFF - By Lynn El­ber AP Tele­vi­sion Writer

Watch­dog and ac­tivist groups are out­raged by a Fox News Chan­nel seg­ment in which an in­ter­viewer asked peo­ple in New York’s Chi­na­town if he was sup­posed to bow to greet them, if they were sell­ing stolen goods and if they could “take care of North Korea for us.”

Several or­ga­ni­za­tions con­demned hu­morist Jesse Wat­ters’ piece on “The O’Reilly Fac­tor,” call­ing it racist and de­mean­ing to Asian-Amer­i­cans.

“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,” Asian Amer­i­can Jour­nal­ists As­so­ci­a­tion Pres­i­dent Paul Che­ung said in a let­ter to Fox and posted on­line. He is direc­tor of in­ter­ac­tive and dig­i­tal news pro­duc­tion for The As­so­ci­ated Press.

Che­ung called on Fox to apol­o­gize to the Asian-Amer­i­can com­mu­nity and asked for “an ex­pla­na­tion for how this type of cov­er­age will be pre­vented in the fu­ture.”

Wat­ters asked peo­ple on the street about the pres­i­den­tial race, sought a demon­stra­tion of karate and showed footage of him get­ting a pedi­cure.

At one point in Mon­day’s nearly five-minute seg­ment, an el­derly woman’s si­lence in re­sponse to a query was paired with a clip from Mel Brooks’ “Young Franken­stein” in which Made­line Kahn shouts, “Speak, speak, why don’t you speak?!”

Gregory A. Cen­dana, ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor of the Asian Pa­cific Amer­i­can La­bor Al­liance, crit­i­cized the re­port.

The cov­er­age, in­clud­ing mak­ing “fun” of the Chi­nese elder, “played into the ex­oti­ciza­tion and sta­tus of per­pet­ual for­eigner” of the Asian-Amer­i­can com­mu­nity, Cen­dana said in a state­ment.

Af­ter the “Wat­ters World” re­port con­cluded, Bill O’Reilly called it “gen­tle fun,” adding, “we’re gonna get let­ters, in­evitably.”

On Wed­nes­day, the Asian Amer­i­cans Ad­vanc­ing Jus­tice af­fil­i­a­tion said it was out­raged by the “bla­tant, racist and of­fen­sive stereo­types of Chi­nese Amer­i­cans.”

“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,” the group said.

U.S. Rep. Ted W. Lieu, D-California, weighed in as well.

“Note to Bill O’Reilly and Fox News: Your re­cent seg­ment mock­ing Asian Amer­i­can vot­ers and us­ing ev­ery con­ceiv­able stereo­type was, at best, racist and, at worst, really racist. I am not ‘pa­tient’ or ‘gen­tle’ nor do I ‘bow’ when I say hello or know ‘karate.’ So let me gen­tly say this: if you are not racist at heart, then you would apol­o­gize. Im­me­di­ately,” Lieu said in a state­ment.

Asked for a re­sponse to crit­ics, Fox di­rected at­ten­tion to two Twit­ter posts Wed­nes­day by Wat­ters.

“As a po­lit­i­cal hu­morist, the Chi­na­town seg­ment was in­tended to be a light piece, as all Wat­ters World seg­ments are,” he wrote.

“My man-on-the-street in­ter­views are meant to be taken as tongue-in-cheek and I re­gret if any­one found of­fense,” Wat­ters’ sec­ond tweet said.

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