July 9, 1978 |
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
|Alma mater||Trinity College|
|Occupation||Political humorist, commentator|
Jesse Watters (born July 9, 1978) is an American critic on the Fox News Channel. He frequently appears on the O'Reilly Factor and is known for his on-the-street interviews, featured in his segment of the show, "Watters' World".
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.
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 October 2016, Watters was criticized for a segment of "Watters' World" that was widely considered racist against 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."
- 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.
- 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.
- "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.
- 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.
- 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.
- "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.
- 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.
- O'Reilly, Bill. "Bill O'Reilly: Upcoming Appearances". www.billoreilly.com. Retrieved 2017-01-04.
- Fox News (3 October 2016). "Watters' World: Chinatown edition". Retrieved 31 October 2016 – via YouTube.
- Stack, Liam (October 6, 2016). "Fox Reporter Accused of Racism for Chinatown Interviews Expresses 'Regret'". The New York Times. Retrieved October 6, 2016.
- Kirell, Andrew (October 6, 2016). "Why Fox's Racist, Sexist Frat Boy Jesse Watters Will Always Win". The Daily Beast. Retrieved October 6, 2016.
- Levitz, Eric (October 5, 2016). "The O'Reilly Factor Takes a Trip to Chinatown. Racism Ensues". New York Magazine. Retrieved October 6, 2016.
- Scanlon, Kate (October 6, 2016). "NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio: Keep Jesse Watters off TV after 'racist' segment". TheBlaze. Retrieved October 6, 2016.
- 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.
- Suen, Brennan (October 6, 2016). "Lawmakers Condemn "Vile" And "Xenophobic" O'Reilly Factor Chinatown Segment". Media Matters for America. Retrieved October 6, 2016.
- Cheung, Paul (2016-10-25). "AAJA demands Fox News apologize for offensive Chinatown segment; network agrees to meeting" (Press release). Asian American Journalists Association.
- 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.