Jesse Watters

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Jesse Watters
Jesse Watters 2019.jpg
Jesse Watters in 2019
Born (1978-07-09) July 9, 1978 (age 41)
Alma materTrinity College
OccupationPolitical commentator
Years active2002–present
Political partyConservative (N.Y.)
Spouse(s)Noelle Inguagiato Watters (div. 2018)
Children2

Jesse Watters (born July 9, 1978) is an American political commentator on the Fox News Channel. He frequently appeared on the political talk show The O'Reilly Factor and was known for his man-on-the-street interviews, featured in his segment of the show, "Watters' World". In January 2017, Watters became the host of a weekly Watters' World show, and in April 2017, he became a co-host of the roundtable series The Five.

Early life[edit]

Watters was born in July 1978 and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.[1] He grew up in the Germantown and then East Falls neighborhoods.[2] He attended the William Penn Charter School through junior year, before moving with his family to Long Island in New York.[2] In 2001, he graduated from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, with a B.A. in history.[3]

Career[edit]

After college, Watters began work as a production assistant at Fox News.[4] In 2003, he moved to the production staff of The O'Reilly Factor,[5] and in 2004 he began to appear on air in segments of O'Reilly's show.[6]

On June 11, 2014, Watters debuted on the Fox News show, Outnumbered. He occasionally appears as a guest co-host. On November 20, 2015, Watters debuted his own monthly Fox News program, Watters' World.[7] He is characterized as an "ambush journalist",[8][9][10] Watters has said, "I try to make it enjoyable for the person I'm interviewing. We always come away from the interview all smiles, for the most part. And it's always fun to come back and look at the footage and say, 'Oh my gosh, what just happened?'"[2] In January 2017, Watters' World became a weekly show, being aired every Saturday at 8 pm EDT.[11][12]

Watters was also a guest on The Spin Stops Here Tour 2017 with Bill O'Reilly and Dennis Miller.[13]

In April 2017, Watters became a co-host of the roundtable series, The Five.

Controversies[edit]

Watters has drawn criticism for numerous provocative and inaccurate statements. Media Matters reported his comments on climate change, where he claimed that "You can fight climate change with suntan lotion. It's not that big of a deal.",[14] and that referring to President Trump's policy of separating children from their families, he claimed "some would say it's a more humane policy" than keeping them together.[15]

In January 2017, Watters faulted John Podesta, Hillary Clinton's campaign manager, for the theft of his emails by Russian hackers, whom U.S. intelligence officials had found were assisting the Trump campaign.[16] Watters said: "What happened was John Podesta gave his password to a hacker. And guess what his password was. 'Password.' It's a true story. His password was 'password.'"[16] The factchecking website PolitiFact rated Watters claim "False."[16]

On the twelfth anniversary of the September 11 terror attacks, Watters stated on the Fox News' O'Reilly Factor, in regard to domestic terrorism: "It is always a Muslim."[17]

Amanda Terkel "ambush"[edit]

In 2009, on assignment for The O'Reilly Factor, Watters and his cameraman accosted journalist Amanda Terkel while she was on vacation and peppered her with questions about an article she'd written that was embarrassing to Bill O'Reilly.

Seven years later, at a journalists' reception, The Huffington Post's Ryan Grim approached Watters with his phone camera running, and asked him to walk over to Terkel and apologize. Watters at first said he would apologize and then said he wouldn't. Then, he said: "I ambushed her because O'Reilly told me to get her because she said some bad shit."

Video of the incident shows Watters then grabbing Grim's phone and throwing it on the floor, and later grabbing it again and putting it in his pocket. Eventually, the two got into a shoving match as Grim attempted to recover his phone. Watters later said on Bill O'Reilly: "I was at this party trying to enjoy myself. This guy came up to me. He starts putting it in my face."

Terkel wrote that Watters' response was "surprising," considering that "Watters' way of confronting his subjects is to thrust cameras in their faces unexpectedly and pepper them with aggressive questions."[18][19]

Chinatown segment[edit]

In October 2016, Watters was criticized for a segment of Watters' World that was widely considered racist toward Asian Americans.[20][21][22] In New York City's Chinatown, Watters asked Chinese Americans if they knew karate, if he should bow before he greets them, or if their watches were stolen.[21][23] Throughout the segment, the 1974 song "Kung Fu Fighting" plays in the background, and the interviews are interspersed with references to martial arts and clips of Watters getting a foot massage and playing with nunchucks.[22][23] New York City mayor Bill de Blasio denounced Watters' segment as "vile, racist behavior" that "has no place in our city".[24][25] Numerous other lawmakers and journalists, including Asian Americans Mazie Hirono and Judy Chu, also condemned Watters.[26] The segment was also criticized by the Asian American Journalists Association, which issued a statement saying: "We should be far beyond tired, racist stereotypes and targeting an ethnic group for humiliation and objectification on the basis of their race."[27]

On October 5, Watters tweeted what Variety's Will Thorne called a "non-apology" about the segment. In the two tweets, Watters stated: "My man-on-the-street interviews are meant to be taken as tongue-in-cheek and I regret if anyone found offense. ... As a political humorist, the Chinatown segment was intended to be a light piece, as all Watters' World segments are."[28][29][30]

Ivanka Trump comments[edit]

In April 2017, two days after joining The Five as co-host, Watters made an on-air comment about Ivanka Trump that was criticized as lewd. After viewing footage of Trump speaking on a panel about female entrepreneurship, Watters commented, "So I don't really get what's going on here, but I really liked how she was speaking into that microphone," as he parodied holding the microphone as a phallic symbol. Watters denied his comment was sexual, saying in a statement, "During the break we were commenting on Ivanka's voice and how it was low and steady and resonates like a smooth jazz radio DJ... This was in no way a joke about anything else."[31] In response to the criticism, Watters was not on the show for two days that week.[32][33]

Personal life[edit]

Watters is registered to vote as a member of the Conservative Party of New York State.[34] He was married to Noelle Inguagiato Watters.[1] They are parents to twin girls.[35] According to news accounts published in March 2018, Noelle Watters filed for divorce in October 2017, after learning her husband had an affair with Emma DiGiovine, a 25-year-old producer working on his show.[35] Watters informed the network of his relationship shortly after Noelle filed divorce papers.[35] DiGiovine was transferred to The Ingraham Angle, and she and Watters continued to date.[35] Watters announced his engagement to DiGiovine in August 2019.[36]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Cook, John (April 24, 2009). "Ambushing Bill O'Reilly's Ambusher". Gawker.com. Archived from the original on March 26, 2016. Retrieved June 6, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c Gray, Ellen (December 19, 2015). "Fox News guy is our true-blue homey". Philadelphia Daily News. Archived from the original on June 6, 2016. Retrieved January 21, 2016.
  3. ^ "Jesse Watters '01 Shares Stories and Advice from a Career in Television". Trinity College. May 4, 2015. Archived from the original on June 7, 2016. Retrieved June 7, 2016.
  4. ^ "Biography, Jesse Watters". foxnews.com/. New York, NY: Fox News. Retrieved May 22, 2017.
  5. ^ Nick, Vadala (January 6, 2017). "Fox News expands Philly native Jesse Watters' 'Watters' World' to weekly show". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Philadelphia, PA.
  6. ^ DeSoto, Randy (April 19, 2016). "Now He's The Star Of 'Watters' World' But First He Had To Earn O'Reilly's Trust". Western Journalism. Phoenix, AZ.
  7. ^ Joyella, Mark (November 11, 2015). "Fox News to Debut Series of 'Watters World' Specials". Adweek. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved April 19, 2016.
  8. ^ Bond, Paul (October 25, 2010). "Ambush-Journalist Confronts NPR CEO About Firing of Juan Williams". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on November 14, 2015. Retrieved August 16, 2015.
  9. ^ "Jesse Watters Ambushes Mayor Who's Suing Residents Over Their Christmas Lights". Fox News. December 19, 2015. Archived from the original on January 27, 2016. Retrieved January 21, 2016.
  10. ^ Stelter, Brian (April 16, 2009). "Gotcha TV: Crews Stalk Bill O'Reilly's Targets". The New York Times. Archived from the original on June 6, 2016. Retrieved January 21, 2016.
  11. ^ Kludt, Tom (January 5, 2017). "Jesse Watters: Bill O'Reilly sidekick gets own show at Fox News". CNN. Retrieved May 14, 2017.
  12. ^ Tani, Maxwell (January 5, 2017). "Jesse Watters Scores Weekly 'Watters' World' Show on Fox News". Business Insider. Retrieved May 14, 2017.
  13. ^ O'Reilly, Bill. "Bill O'Reilly: Upcoming Appearances". www.billoreilly.com. Retrieved 2017-01-04.
  14. ^ Staff, Media Matters. "Fox's Jesse Watters: "You can fight climate change with suntan lotion. It's not that big of a deal"". Media Matters for America. Retrieved Oct 28, 2019.
  15. ^ Hagle, Courtney. "DHS watchdog reported disturbing conditions at detention centers. Fox spent months describing them as humane". Media Matters for America. Retrieved Oct 28, 2019.
  16. ^ a b c Carroll, Lauren (January 6, 2017). "Claim that John Podesta's email password was 'password' lacks evidence". Politifact. St. Petersburg, FL.
  17. ^ "Fox News' Jesse Watters: His 10 Most Offensive Moments (Videos)". Apr 21, 2017. Retrieved Oct 28, 2019.
  18. ^ "Jesse Watters On Ambushing Me: Bill O'Reilly 'Told Me To Get Her'". HuffPost. May 2, 2016. Retrieved Oct 28, 2019.
  19. ^ "Nerdy fight breaks out at WHCD afterparty between Fox News and Huffington Post reporters". The Washington Post. 2016-05-01. Retrieved 2019-10-28.
  20. ^ Fox News (3 October 2016). "Watters' World: Chinatown edition". Retrieved 31 October 2016 – via YouTube.
  21. ^ a b Stack, Liam (October 6, 2016). "Fox Reporter Accused of Racism for Chinatown Interviews Expresses 'Regret'". The New York Times. Retrieved October 6, 2016.
  22. ^ a b Kirell, Andrew (October 6, 2016). "Why Fox's Racist, Sexist Frat Boy Jesse Watters Will Always Win". The Daily Beast. Retrieved October 6, 2016.
  23. ^ a b Levitz, Eric (October 5, 2016). "The O'Reilly Factor Takes a Trip to Chinatown. Racism Ensues". New York Magazine. Retrieved October 6, 2016.
  24. ^ Scanlon, Kate (October 6, 2016). "NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio: Keep Jesse Watters off TV after 'racist' segment". TheBlaze. Retrieved October 6, 2016.
  25. ^ Flood, Brian (October 6, 2016). "NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio Wants 'Vile,' 'Racist' Jesse Watters Off TV After Disastrous Chinatown Segment". TheWrap. Retrieved October 6, 2016.
  26. ^ Suen, Brennan (October 6, 2016). "Lawmakers Condemn "Vile" And "Xenophobic" O'Reilly Factor Chinatown Segment". Media Matters for America. Retrieved October 6, 2016.
  27. ^ Cheung, Paul (2016-10-25). "AAJA demands Fox News apologize for offensive Chinatown segment; network agrees to meeting" (Press release). Asian American Journalists Association.
  28. ^ Thorne, Will (October 5, 2016). "Fox News Host Expresses Regret Over Controversial Chinatown Segment". Variety. Retrieved October 8, 2016.
  29. ^ Watters, Jesse (October 5, 2016). "As a political humorist..." Twitter.com. Archived from the original on October 7, 2016. Retrieved October 7, 2016.
  30. ^ Watters, Jesse (October 5, 2016). "My man-on-the-street interviews..." Twitter.com. Archived from the original on October 8, 2016. Retrieved October 8, 2016.
  31. ^ Victor, Daniel (April 26, 2017). "Jesse Watters of Fox Denies His Ivanka Trump Comment Was Lewd". The New York Times. Retrieved April 27, 2017.
  32. ^ Victor, Daniel (April 27, 2017). "Jesse Watters of Fox Announces Vacation After Ivanka Trump Comment". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved April 27, 2017.
  33. ^ Nazaryan, Alexander (April 26, 2017). "Jesse Watters takes Fox News to a new low with his Ivanka Trump microphone joke". Newsweek. Retrieved April 4, 2019.
  34. ^ Resnick, Gideon (April 15, 2016). "Trump's Closest Confidants Can't Vote for Him". The Daily Beast. New York, NY.
  35. ^ a b c d Boggioni, Tom (March 11, 2018). "Wife of Fox News host Jesse Watters files for divorce after learning of his affair with producer". The Raw Story. Washington, D.C.
  36. ^ Watters, Jesse (2019-08-25). "Emma and I would like to announce our engagement! Thanks to all of our family and friends who've shown us so much love. We are so grateful pic.twitter.com/qaKGGvHISD". @JesseBWatters. Retrieved 2019-08-26.

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