Jesse Watters’ most egregious attacks against women in 2022
The Fox News host stands out for his unrepentant sexism, even in a network rife with it
Fox News host Jesse Watters spent 2022 leveling baseless, sexist attacks against women. Sometimes his remarks were aimed at specific public figures – often Democrats – and sometimes they were targeted at women in general. What united all of his comments was an unrelenting posture of condescension, and an implicit defense of patriarchal hierarchies both in public and private life. He was made a permanent host of the 7 p.m. hour in January, raising his profile at the network and giving him a larger platform to perpetuate his misogynistic ideas about gender roles and women in positions of power.
Watters, his colleagues, and his guests repeatedly sexualized women, including young women and girls, frequently commenting on their looks either by mocking them or reducing them to their sexual appeal.
- One of Watters’ creepiest moments of the year came during a discussion about corporal punishment in a school district in Missouri. “Can you paddle female students?” Watters asked. He followed up: “How many smacks do you get?”
- Watters and co-host Greg Gutfeld devoted a segment of The Five to a discussion about how, in their minds, college students aren’t attractive any more. “I’ve thought a lot about this,” Watters said. “When you do lots of piercings of your body, or you dye your hair radical colors, or you wear ugly clothes on purpose, you don’t physically take care of yourself – you actually hate yourself.”
- Following the leak of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito’s draft opinion that would later overturn Roe v Wade, Watters leveled ageist attacks abortion rights activists. “There are women who are past their prime, who can't even get pregnant,” but are “screaming at the top of their lungs, almost resorting to violence,” he said.
- Watters and Outkick founder Clay Travis reacted to the news that Hillary and Chelsea Clinton were going to launch a car-based interview show in typically sexist fashion. “When Bill heard they were going to be interviewing some babes in the car, I think he asked if he could get a ride,” Watters said. Travis responded, “Bill Clinton next to Kim Kardashian in the backseat of a car? I might watch that.”
- After Republicans performed poorly with single women in the 2022 midterms, Watters said, “We need these ladies to get married.” He added, “It’s time to fall in love and just settle down.”
- He returned to the theme just weeks later, telling women they “need to stop chopping your hair off and calling us ‘toxic,’” and should “fall in love.”
- In a segment discussing teen drug and alcohol use, Watters advised young people, implicitly young men, not to smoke marijuana because “girls don’t dig it.” He added that “girls don’t like the scene,” but that “girls like the alcohol scene.”
- He shared a creepy story about trying to get a 25-year-old coworker to date him by letting air out of her tires. He later claimed it was a joke, and the two are now married.
Watters also spent the year going after prominent women, both politicians and other public figures. His insults often took on racist, xenophobic, anti-LGBTQ dimensions in addition to their open sexism.
- In one of several segments attacking Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Watters said she wasn’t ready to be president – “ripe” enough, in his words – because she wasn’t married with children. “First, she has to get married,” he said, adding “then you get pregnant.”
- He also said AOC wasn’t being “rational” when she called for the elimination of the filibuster in the Senate because she was planning her wedding. “I know how taxing that can be,” Watters said.
- Watters mocked AOC for calling out right-wing influencer Alex Stein when he catcalled her on her way into the Capitol Building, arguing that it was hypocritical to want the Capitol Police to ensure her safety after she’d criticized some police officers conduct during the January 6 insurrection. Although Watters offered a perfunctory disavowal of Stein’s sexual harassment, he replayed the video multiple times on subsequent broadcasts.
- When AOC responded to hecklers at a town hall, Watters said she “went full taco.”
- Watters attacked Giselle Fetterman, wife of Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor and then-Senate Candidate John Fetterman, wondering if “the Brazilian bisexual immigrant” had “been vetted.”
- Watters has also frequently targeted Vice President Kamala Harris, not for her policies or performance, but for her identity as a woman. In one segment, he said Harris was struggling due to a “typical female problem,” adding that “every single article is about her feelings.”
- He said Romania and Poland “should be insulted” by her visit to their countries.
- During a national shortage in baby formula, he said that Harris should publicly address the nation because she is “the first female Vice President.”
- In the midst of speculation about who President Joe Biden would nominate for the Supreme Court, Watters said that if the nominee was a Black woman, it would be the result of a “back room racial deal.”
- Watters repeatedly attacked Los Angeles city Councilwoman Nithya Ramen for her progressive policies to address the issue of unhoused people in her district. In these segments, Watters referenced her as “Ramen, like the noodle.”
- He accused Waukesha County Circuit Jennifer Darrow of excessive leniency in the case of a man accused of ramming his SUV through a Christmas parade the previous year. He said he preferred the “sassy” judge overseeing the Parkland shooting case.
- He mocked the testimony of Cassidy Hutchinson, former advisor to former President Donald Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows, as a “30-year-old girl named Cassidy batting her eyelashes.”
Watters also blamed women writ large for what he perceived to be various social ills.
- He attacked pregnant immigrant women in U.S. towns near the border, saying they “drive to the hospital, deliver the baby and the maternity ward is full with illegal aliens delivering babies.”
- He blamed women entering the workforce – and thus not being at home with their school-age children as much – for a lack of scrutiny over teachers’ curriculum. “Our schools became breeding grounds for some pretty subversive behavior,” he said.
- He further mocked women’s contributions to the workforce during a discussion of a “women’s strike.” After sarcastically saying, “I’m a little worried about that,” he wondered if women would withhold their labor in the home as well. “Who's going to mess with the thermostat?” he asked. “Who's going to tell me that my clothes clash before I leave?”
Fox News has a long history of sexism in the company, but Watters’ remarks over the course of the year stand out even by the network’s abysmally low standards. His frat-boy schtick is simultaneously boring and offensive, predictable and disgusting, and absolutely on-brand for the Murdoch empire.