Councilman David Ryu joined a chorus of public officials and Asian American groups calling on Fox News to apologize for a Chinatown man-on-the-street feature that has been blasted as demeaning toward Asian Americans.
Ryu, who is of Korean descent and the only Asian American member of the Los Angeles City Council, said that as “an Asian American and an immigrant” he found the segment “racist, bigoted and divisive.”
“I understand firsthand because I have experienced racism throughout my entire life, even recently,” he said. “It is imperative that we call out this hurtful and damaging behavior whenever it occurs.”
“I am demanding Fox News to issue an immediate apology and retraction for the Watters’ World, Chinatown segment,” he said. “Additionally, Fox News executives must meet with representatives of the Asian American community to better understand the impacts of their poor judgment.”
In the Oct. 3 Watters’ World segment, aired as part of the “The O’Reilly Factor” show, reporter Jesse Watters visits Chinatown in New York to interview people on their views about Donald Trump.
While Watters chats up Asian-American interviewees using references to “bowing” and karate, film clips are spliced in showing or referring to crudely drawn characterizations of Asian Americans and Chinese culture.
At one point, the segment plays up silences from elderly interviewees, who may not have understood the questions, for laughs.
Watters, calling himself a “political humorist,” posted on Twitter saying that the segment was “intended to be a light piece, as all Watters World segments are.”
He followed up with another tweet, saying that “my man-on-the-street interviews are meant to be taken as tongue-in-cheek and I regret if anyone found offense.”
The groups Asian American Journalists Association and Asian Americans Advancing Justice, as well as Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Los Angeles and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, are among those who have also denounced the segment.
–City News Service
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