The hosts of Fox & Friends asked their colleague Bill O’Reilly to watch a video of Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) speaking on the floor of the House. But he was apparently too distracted by her hair to pay attention to the words she was saying.
“We stand up for America oftentimes when others who think they are more patriotic, who say they are more patriotic, do not,” Waters said as the split-screen showed O’Reilly sarcastically nodding along, at point raising his first and mouthing “right on” into the camera. “When we fight against this president, and we point out how dangerous he is for this society and for this country, we’re fighting for the democracy. We’re fighting for America.”
“I didn’t hear a word she said. I was looking at the James Brown wig,” O’Reilly replied, as male hosts Brian Kilmeade and Steve Doocy laughed. “If we have a picture of James Brown, it’s the same one.”
“And [Brown] is not using it anymore. They just—they finally buried him,” Kilmeade added.
“I have to defend her on that. You can’t go after a woman’s looks,” Ainsley Earnhardt said, once she could get a word in over their cackles. “I think she’s very attractive.”
“I didn't say she wasn’t attractive,” O’Reilly said in response. “I love James Brown! But it’s the same hair that James Brown, the godfather of soul, had. Whatever it is, I just couldn’t get past it.”
Before the segment ended, O’Reilly turned on a dime to say to the camera, “I love you, Maxine, I want to see you on the Factor, and when hell freezes over I’m sure that will happen.”
No, the Democratic congresswoman is unlikely to appear on The O’Reilly Factor after those equally sexist and racist remarks were thrown her way by the host. But who wouldn’t tune in just to see if he would dare repeat them to her face?
UPDATE: In a statement following the backlash to his comment, O'Reilly apologized to Waters, saying he "respects" her for "being sincere in his beliefs" and expressing regret for his "jest about her hair which was dumb."