by G. Brown
FOX News anchor/commentator Bill O’Reilly hit a new low this week even for him by going after Democratic Congresswoman Maxine Waters’ wig.
On Monday, during a segment of “Fox & Friends”, O’Reilly made what many are calling racist and sexist jokes about Waters. While airing a clip of Waters speaking against President Trump and his supporters, O’Reilly said, “I didn’t hear a word she said. I was looking at the James Brown wig. Do we have have a picture of James Brown? It’s the same wig.” O’Reilly’s co-host Brian Kilmeade was laughing out loud and chimed in “He’s [James Brown] not using it anymore. They just–they finally buried him.”
Waters responded Tuesday on MSNBC saying “I am a strong black woman, and I cannot be intimidated. I cannot be undermined. I cannot be thought to be afraid of Bill O’Reilly or anybody. And I’d like to say to women out there everywhere: Don’t allow these right-wing talking heads, these dishonorable people, to intimidate you or scare you. Be who you are. Do what you do. And let us get on with discussing the real issues of this country.” Can we put those words on a mug…a T-shirt…a hashtag or something because Waters hit it dead on the head.
FOX News plays the same bully game that we’ve sadly seen from White males who think they are powerful and elite. Instead of sticking to the issues and debating the words of a female or minority opponent, they often stoop to attacking the person’s appearance or denigrating their accomplishments. We saw the latter happen earlier this year when Trump tried to dismiss Congressman John Lewis by tweeting “All talk, talk, talk–no action or results. Sad! Trump was a shining example that day of the need for Black history to be taught in America—and Twitter quickly schooled him. The President was made aware that John Lewis is no less than a Civil Rights icon who among his long list of accomplishments survived the Bloody Sunday assault on innocent protesters. Lewis wasn’t “all talk” but all bravery that day in 1965 when he alongside Dr. Martin Luther King and others dared to march across Pettus Bride in the fight for equal rights for Blacks. Armed policemen used billy clubs and tear gas to attack them as they marched across the bridge to Alabama’s State Capital. Trying to erase Lewis’ historic accomplishments by belittling and trashing him didn’t work for the President….the same attack tactic won’t work for FOX News either.
You would think FOX News would know better since about the same time O’Reilly and the good ole boys were laughing about Black people and wigs, one of FOX’s top execs was being fired after two decades on the job for derogatory comments about Black employees. Judy Slater was fired for “abhorrent behavior” after internal investigations revealed she had on numerous occasions made inappropriate comments to minorities like the time she allegedly asked a Black employee if all three of her children were fathered by the same man. Abhorrent…yes. Surprising…no.
This is the same network that removed former News head Roger Ailes after several accusations of sexual harassment by on-air reporters and anchors. Even the man in question, O’Reilly has been accused of sexual harassment by an employee who said in letters from her lawyer that in 2011, the anchor tried to sabotage her career after she rejected his advances. According to the NYTimes, FOX News settled the case in exchange for her silence.
This is the same news network that doesn’t report the news, but only comes on daily to kiss up to the current President while standing on their eggshell foundation of pretense that they are the moral strength of America. This is the same network that declared everyone knows both Jesus and Santa Claus are White. A network full of people so blinded by their own hubris that they can’t see that all the hatred, divisiveness and nonsense they sputter daily bears no resemblance to the Jesus they claim to worship.
Good for Maxine Waters taking the higher ground and letting FOX know that her worth is beyond a wig, beyond sexist banter summing her up, beyond a White man’s opinion of her and beyond their juvenile words and low-brow attempt at humor.