A Native American organization is calling on Fox News to fire hosts Jesse Watters and Rachel Campos-Duffy over a segment in which they tied Native Americans’ struggles to “government dependency” and “alcoholism.”
IllumiNative, which describes itself as a Native-led non-profit “dedicated to battling toxic misconceptions of Native Americans,” issued a statement from its founder and executive director Crystal Echo Hawk on the hosts’ “abhorrent statements.”
“We are enraged. On Wednesday, Fox News hosts Jesse Watters, Rachel Campos-Duffy, and former Congressman Sean Duffy spewed outrageously false and harmful statements about Native Americans - while on national television,” Echo Hawk said.
During a joint appearance on Fox News Primetime, spouses Campos-Duffy and Duffy complained that “Christopher Columbus was the first victim of cancel culture” while arguing that Native Americans “were just as brutal” as Columbus and other European colonizers. “They burned villages, raped women, seized children, took the people they defeated, took their land, scalped people,” Duffy added.
Campos-Duffy also asserted in the segment that the struggles Native Americans endure today “have everything to do with government dependency, cycles of poverty and alcoholism, and family breakdowns,” prompting Watters—who was hosting Fox News Primetime—to offer his own observation on the relationship between Democrats and tribal nations.
“Yeah, they’re just going to try to send more slush funds to the reservations, and make them out to be victims, and then have them keep voting for Democrats,” he said on Wednesday night.
“This rhetoric is incredibly harmful and dangerous and very clearly rooted in racism and white supremacy. Instead of allowing people to perpetuate revisionist history that erases the true history of this country—we need to start calling it what it was. Genocide,” Echo Hawk declared in her statement. “For so long, Americans have chosen to omit and forget us from history and the present day. They render us down to grossly inaccurate stereotypes to perpetuate the discrimination and oppression of Native Americans that begun with their ‘founding fathers.’ But we know these are lies non-Natives tell themselves to feel better, even proud about the horrifying truth of this country—and of their ancestors.”
Echo Hawk concluded by calling on Fox News to take “responsibility” and engage in “immediate action to address the blatant racism and discrimination driven” by the network’s personalities.
“There should not be a television network in the United States that allows people like Jesse Watters, Rachel Campos-Duffy, and Sean Duffy to disseminate hate and indoctrinate this country with racism and white supremacy,” she further stated.
The organization also posted a series of tweets on Friday evening demanding that Fox News not only issue an on-air correction and apology over the statements but also fire Campos-Duffy and Watters.
“These racist remarks by @RCamposDuffy, @JesseBWatters & @SeanDuffyWI are hateful & unacceptable,” one tweet read. “@FoxNews must apologize & fire these staffers.”
Fox News did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
This isn’t the first time that Watters has found himself in hot water over a segment in which he was accused of mocking and stereotyping a minority group. In October 2016, he publicly expressed “regret” after he sparked uproar and protests over his infamous Chinatown segment that featured the song “Kung Fu Fighting” and was sprinkled with clips from The Karate Kid.