Yeah, he actually said that.
Yesterday morning, racist and serial sexual harassment offender, Bill O'Reilly appeared on 'Fox and Friends' and denigrated honored Representative Maxine Waters by making a cruel and insensitive remark about her hair, in a desperate effort to steer the conversation away from Trump's Russia connection.1
The sad truth is that Bill O'Reilly's comments were hardly incidental. Everything on shows like 'Fox and Friends' --from the incendiary jokes to the pictures displayed on green screens is intentionally manufactured to create the most sensational segment possible. Producers want clips of their show to go viral and gain new viewers. So, for them, all publicity is good publicity-- and they knew what would happen when they asked Bill O'Reilly, who will do anything for a mean-spirited laugh, to comment on Representative Maxine Waters. That's why, after he issued a half-hearted apology, Fox allowed Bill O'Reilly to continue the vilification of Representative Waters that evening where he blatantly invoked antiblack tropes, stating that she is reliant on entitlement programs and needs to learn how to work hard and get a skill. All of this on the same network where he attacked her appearance earlier that morning.
Both Bill O'Reilly and 'Fox and Friends' have a long history of attacking Black communities with misleading rhetoric and outright lies in order to advance an outlandish, right-wing agenda and smear fair policies.2 And it’s dangerous. It shapes perceptions of Black people in the minds of viewers, and thus endangers Black people in neighborhoods, courtrooms, and classrooms across the country.
That's why we're demanding that 'Fox and Friends' apologize for producing the segment which disparaged Representative Maxine Waters for cheap laughs. Black hair and womanhood have always been political--and disturbing "jokes" about appearances are a common go-to for misogynistic white supremacists who are trying to belittle Black women's power. Remember when former West Virginia mayor, Beverly Whaling referred to former First Lady, Michelle Obama as an "ape in heels" or when talk radio host and bigot, Don Imus referred to the primarily Black Rutgers University women's basketball team as "nappy headed hoes?"3 Research shows there are real life consequences for Black women when these dehumanizing stereotypes rule the day including diminished economic opportunities, less attention from doctors, and harsher sentences from judges.
Rebuke Bill O'Reilly's attack on Black womanhood and tell 'Fox and Friends' to apologize for the segment now.
Few things upset a racist more than a powerful Black woman unapologetically exposing the illegitimacy of white supremacy and the power it wields--and Representative Maxine Waters has been doing that for decades. She is the most senior Black Congresswoman and has served the state of California and the country in public office for over 40 years. She was California's foremost voice against South African apartheid, is a staunch advocate in the fight against mandatory minimums, and has lead Congress's Opposition against Trump.4 In short, she is a living legend who deserves the utmost respect and honor--not bigoted dogwhistles from an attention-seeking, Trump-loving pundit.
If we continue to let 'Fox and Friends' produce segments like the one with Bill O'Reilly and Maxine Waters, without repercussions, we say that it's okay for this show and shows like it to attack Black womanhood for ratings. And it's not--they must be accountable for the cruel segment they instigated. We can't let this continue. We stand with Representative Maxine Waters and we call on "Fox and Friends" to rebuke Bill O'Reilly's attack on Black womanhood and make a public commitment to reject this rhetoric in the future.
Until justice is real,
Arisha, Rashad, Brandi, Anika, Jade, Evan, Yeshi, Corina, the rest of the Color Of Change team
- “The Internet to Bill O'Reilly : Leave Congressman Maxine Waters' Hair out of this.” The Los Angeles Times, 28 March 2017. http://act.colorofchange.org/go/7662?t=8&akid=7199.1942551.NiDFJQ
- "Bill O'Reilly's History of Racism." Media Matters, 28 March 2017. https://coc.actionkit.com/go/7663?t=10&akid=7199.1942551.NiDFJQ
- “West Virginia town tries to move past Michelle Obama "ape in heels" post.” New York Daily News, 16 November 2016. http://act.colorofchange.org/go/7664?t=12&akid=7199.1942551.NiDFJQ
- “Congresswoman Maxine Waters Believes Donald Trump Should Be Impeached.” Teen Vogue, 6 February 2017. http://act.colorofchange.org/go/7665?t=14&akid=7199.1942551.NiDFJQ
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