On Tuesday evening, after mocking her hair on Fox and Friends earlier that day, Bill O'Reilly apologized to Congresswoman Maxine Waters. However, O'Reilly's apology came across as insincere, as the television show host snickered throughout his mea culpa to Waters.
O'Reilly initially made his offensive comments about Waters' appearance during an episode of Fox and Friends on Tuesday morning. After viewing a clip of Waters speaking on the House floor, O'Reilly commented, "I didn't hear a word she said. I was looking at the James Brown wig," sparking laughter from all of his co-hosts except the lone woman anchor, Ainsley Earhardt, who defended the congresswoman.
O'Reilly was immediately criticized in the press and on social media for his comments, which many found to be both racist and sexist. Waters herself also responded to O'Reilly's comments via an interview on MSNBC on Tuesday afternoon.
I'm a strong black woman and I cannot be intimidated. I cannot be thought to be afraid of Bill O'Reilly or anybody. And I'd like to say to women out there everywhere, don't allow these right-wing talking heads, these dishonorable people, to intimidate you or scare you. Be who you are. Do what you do. And let us get on with discussing the real issues of this country.
Following the public outcry over his remarks, O'Reilly issued a written apology statement on Tuesday afternoon and also apologized on his show on Tuesday evening. During his on-air apology, O'Reilly admitted he made a mistake.
I made that mistake this morning on Fox & Friends. I said in a simple jest that the congresswoman’s hair distracted me. Well, that was stupid. I apologize. It had no place in the conversation.
However, while his words seemed conciliatory, O'Reilly snickered in the middle of his apology, making it appear as though he found the entire incident amusing and did not understand the serious implications of his words. O'Reilly's laughter, of course, also made the apology itself seem contrived and insincere and likely did little to convince the public that he was seriously remorseful for his earlier words about Waters' appearance.
Furthermore, O'Reilly then went on to extensively critique Waters for her criticisms of President Trump. He claimed Waters was engaging in "demagoguery" and accused her of not being patriotic for taking issue with Trump. O'Reilly's critiques of Waters' actions following his apology didn't make it seem any more sincere or serious.
The very least he could have done was offer a heartfelt apology, but his came across as completely missing the mark. Thankfully, though, Waters does not seem to be phased by O'Reilly's offensive comments and is forging ahead in the fight to protect the rights and interests of her constituents under the Trump administration. O'Reilly should take a lesson from Waters in how to act with strength, dignity, and class.
Images: The O'Reilly Factor/ Fox News