The president of the Asian American Journalists Association is heavily criticizing Fox News for airing a segment that “was rife with racist stereotypes.”
Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor aired an October 3 segment featuring correspondent Jesse Watters visiting New York’s Chinatown neighborhood to purportedly get residents' “political opinion.” The segment instead became, as Vox explained, an excuse to make “fun of the people he encountered with the broadest, dumbest Asian stereotypes imaginable.”
Paul Cheung, the president of the Asian American Journalists Association and director of Interactive and Digital News Production at The Associated Press, strongly criticized Fox News for the segment.
“The segment was rife with racist stereotypes, drew on thoughtless tropes and openly ridiculed Asian Americans,” Cheung told Media Matters. “Fox missed a real opportunity to investigate the Asian American vote, a topic not often covered in the mainstream news media.”
Numerous other journalists, including Asian-Americans reporters, took to Twitter to criticize the segment for its “disgusting” and “anti-Asian” ridicule.
UPDATE: The Asian American Journalists Association issued a formal statement about the segment, saying that “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.” The association said its MediaWatch committee is demanding “an apology from Fox News to our community and a meeting with the show’s producers to understand how this segment was conceived and greenlit to air. More importantly, we want an explanation for how this type of coverage will be prevented in the future.”
Gregory A. Cendana, the executive director of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance and Institute for Asian Pacific American Leadership & Advancement, told Media Matters:
Though it’s not surprising that The O’Reilly Factor did such a segment, we’re still extremely disappointed in the racist and stereotypical coverage of Chinese Americans on a major outlet. The Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community, for one, is not a monolith nor a model minority nor a perpetual foreigner. It was inappropriate for Watters to ask about Chinese herbs for performance. It was inappropriate for Watters to make fun of Chinese elder who did not answer his question. So much of that coverage played into the exoticization and the status of perpetual foreign of the AAPI community, which continue to be an issue in the media today. And it’s a shame that this segment had to exacerbate that.
Mee Moua, president and executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice and a former Minnesota state senator, issued the following statement to Media Matters:
Advancing Justice | AAJC is outraged by the blatant, racist and offensive stereotypes of Chinese Americans portrayed in a recent Fox News segment during The O’Reilly Factor. The fact that O’Reilly termed this as “gentle fun” and Watters believed it was “all in good fun” only demonstrates a complete lack of a moral compass. It is unconscionable that a news organization would sanction a segment that laughs at a community of people, including Watters ridiculing elderly Asian Americans who were limited English proficient.
Although The O’Reilly Factor may believe this was 'all in good fun,' the segment does nothing more than play up every offensive stereotype of Asian Americans that the community has fought against for decades. What they should have done is to talk about the important role that Asian Americans can play in this upcoming election. There are more than 9.3 million newly eligible voters this year, and 37% of Asian American respondents in our 2016 Voter Survey identify themselves as independents. Our community stands to play an important role in this election and the future of politics as the fastest growing racial group in the United States. We as a community refuse to be mocked and trivialized.
Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund wrote of the segment on its Twitter account:
— AsianAmericanLegal (@aaldef) October 5, 2016
Christopher Kang, national director for the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans told, Media Matters:
This segment is so clearly racist and offensive, it is impossible to understand how it was aired at all, much less as a supposed news piece. If Bill O'Reilly wants to report on the views of Asian Americans, he could cover today's survey that shows Asian Americans favor Secretary Clinton to Mr. Trump by a margin of 55%-14%. Instead, this segment insults Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and demeans people of limited English proficiency in a shockingly callous manner. The next time Bill O'Reilly realizes his segment is “going to get letters,” he should demonstrate a little judgment and not air it.