July 9, 1978 |
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
|Alma mater||Trinity College|
|Occupation||Political humorist, commentator|
|Spouse(s)||Noelle Inguagiato Watters (? - present)|
Jesse Watters (born July 9, 1978) is an American critic on the Fox News Channel. He frequently appeared on the former political talk show The O'Reilly Factor and is known for his on-the-street interviews, featured in his segment of the show, "Watters' World". In January 2017, Watters became the host of his weekly Watters' World show, and in April 2017, he became a co-host of the roundtable series, The Five.
Watters was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, growing up in the Germantown and later East Falls neighborhoods. He attended the William Penn Charter School through junior year, then moved with his family to Long Island in New York. In 2001, he graduated from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut.
After college, Watters began work as a production assistant at Fox News. In 2003, he moved to the production staff of The O’Reilly Factor, and in 2004 he began to appear on air in segments of O'Reilly's show.
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. He is characterized as an "ambush journalist", 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?'" In January 2017, Watters' World became a weekly show, being aired every Saturday at 8 pm EDT.
In April 2017, Watters became a co-host of the roundtable series, The Five.
In October 2016, Watters was criticized for a segment of "Watters' World" that was widely considered racist toward Asian Americans. 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. 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. New York City mayor Bill de Blasio denounced Watters' segment as "vile, racist behavior" that "has no place in our city". Numerous other lawmakers and journalists, including Asian Americans Mazie Hirono and Judy Chu, also condemned Watters. 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."
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."
Ivanka Trump comments
In April 2017, two days after joining The Five as co-host, Watters made an on-air comment about Ivanka Trump that was highly 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." After the clip of the incident had been shared widely on social media, Watters said that the comment was not 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." The day after Watters made the comments, he announced that he would be "taking a vacation" for the remainder of the week amid calls for his firing.
- 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.
Watters was born in July 1978.
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- Kirell, Andrew (October 6, 2016). "Why Fox's Racist, Sexist Frat Boy Jesse Watters Will Always Win". The Daily Beast. Retrieved October 6, 2016.
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- Scanlon, Kate (October 6, 2016). "NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio: Keep Jesse Watters off TV after 'racist' segment". TheBlaze. Retrieved October 6, 2016.
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- Thorne, Will (October 5, 2016). "Fox News Host Expresses Regret Over Controversial Chinatown Segment". Variety. Retrieved October 8, 2016.
- Watters, Jesse (October 5, 2016). "As a political humorist...". Twitter.com. Archived from the original on October 7, 2016. Retrieved October 7, 2016.
- 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.
- Victor, Daniel (2017-04-27). "Jesse Watters of Fox Announces Vacation After Ivanka Trump Comment". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-04-27.
- Victor, Daniel (26 April 2017). "Jesse Watters of Fox Denies His Ivanka Trump Comment Was Lewd". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 April 2017.
- "Jesse Watters". NNDB. Retrieved March 28, 2017.