Yesterday on Fox News, Bill O’Reilly dismissed California congresswoman Maxine Waters‘ remarks because he was distracted by her appearance, he joked.


The commentators on Fox and Friends were reviewing a fiery anti-Trump speech Waters gave on the House floor. “I didn’t hear a word she said,” exclaimed O’Reilly. “I was looking at that James Brown wig.”

The team awkwardly laughed at first, clearly taken aback, but still spoke on the comment. Co-host Brian Kilmeade chuckled and agreed with the resemblance. Ainsley Earhardt, at least, stood up for Waters. “I have to defend her on that – you can’t go after a woman’s looks,” she said. “I think she’s very attractive.”

“I didn’t say she wasn’t attractive,” said O’Reilly, not getting her point that the discussion should be dropped. “I love James Brown. But it’s the same hair James Brown, the Godfather of Soul, had!… Whatever it is, I just couldn’t get by it.” At the end of the segment, O’Reilly stood up for Waters, who had been criticized politically by the other commentators. “She’s a sincere individual. Whatever she says she believes, she’s not a phony, and that’s old-school,” O’Reilly said. “So we’re giving Maxine a break here. I love you Maxine, I want to see you on ‘The (O’Reilly) Factor,’ and when hell freezes over I’m sure that’ll happen.”

On Tuesday, O’Reilly apologized for his offensive remarks about the congresswoman’s hair. “As I have said many times, I respect Congresswoman Maxine Waters for being sincere in her beliefs. I said that again today on Fox & Friends calling her ‘old school,'” he said. “Unfortunately, I also made a jest about her hair which was dumb. I apologize.”

Waters has not replied directly, but sent a powerful message from her Twitter account. “I am a strong black woman,” she said. “I cannot be intimidated, and I am not going anywhere. #BlackWomenAtWork.”

Angelo Carusone, on the other hand, did address O’Reilly’s apology. As president of the progressive watchdog group Media Matters for America, Carusone said in a statement, “Bill O’Reilly’s apology ain’t s–t. He should be fired… Fox News set the standard for acting here. They said racism doesn’t have a place at Fox News. Now, four days later, the network has to decide: will they abandon their standard of not supporting racism in favor of their standard bearer, or will they hold O’Reilly accountable? They can’t have both.”

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