WASHINGTON — FOX News host Bill O’Reilly is apologizing for comments he made that offended Congresswoman Maxine Waters, D-California, and others.
O’Reilly was widely criticized Tuesday when he cracked a joke about Waters’ hair, calling it a “James Brown wig.” The comment was seen as racist and sexist, and O’Reilly later apologized for his “dumb” joke.
Now, a former adviser to President Donald Trump’s campaign, is chiming in, saying Wednesday there is a partisan double standard when it comes to making fun of someone’s hair.
“It always seems like it’s OK to make fun of a conservative, but liberals, you can’t touch them. They’re off-limits,” former Rep. Jack Kingston, a Georgia Republican, said on CNN’s “New Day.” “Making fun of Maxine Waters’ hair, making fun of Donald Trump’s hair — I don’t know what the difference is except one’s a conservative and one’s a liberal.”
Kingston said O’Reilly’s joke had “nothing to do with sex. It had nothing to do with race.”
“Why is it when you say something about women’s hair you’re sexist?” he asked.
Host Chris Cuomo replied, “Because you’re objectifying them in a way that doesn’t happen to men.”
Former White House Communications Director Jen Psaki disputed Kingston’s remarks on the “New Day” segment, calling it “irresponsible and dangerous” to dismiss O’Reilly’s comments toward Waters.
“Sexism is alive and well. So is racism,” Psaki said. “I think we all need to be aware of that.”
“It’s not funny to joke about women of color or to joke about gender. Nobody finds it funny. They should not find it funny,” she said.
During the exchange with O’Reilly, Ainsley Earhardt, FOX co-anchor said she disagreed with O’Reilly.
“I have to defend her on that. You can’t go after a woman’s looks. I think she’s very attractive,” Earhardt said.
“I didn’t say she wasn’t attractive. I love James Brown,” O’Reilly said.
Waters tweeted: “I am a strong black woman. I cannot be intimidated, and I’m not going anywhere.”
Waters has served in Congress for a quarter-century. Now she’s turned into the passionate voice of resistance against the Trump administration. The 78-year-old Democrat lays politeness aside when she talks about the new president. When told that this is not normal political dialogue, she shrugs.
“My spirit tells me I cannot be silent. I must address this so-called president, no matter where it takes me,” she said.
The California congresswoman plans to boycott any meeting, event, ceremony or public event with the president, at the White House or even in her home district of Los Angeles.
O’Reiley’s joke about Water’s wig and White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s dressing down of a reporter have spurred black women to take to social media in protest.
Activist Brittany Packnett encouraged people to tweet under #BlackWomenAtWork.