Fox News — having just kicked its number one personality to the curb — is having another possible problem with another. Jesse Watters, for those of you who don't know him, is a Fox anchor on The Five, a show that just moved to the 9 p.m. ET hour after Bill O'Reilly was fired. He also was an O'Reilly contributor, and last year, took heat for a segment that was filmed in New York's Chinatown that included offensive stereotypes. But now, he may have made a joke that we gone too far. So will Watters be fired from Fox News?
Well, he's suspiciously gone on vacation, but it's too early to say. First of all, consider what his actual comments were. On Tuesday's broadcast of The Five, the hosts were talking about Ivanka Trump's appearance in Berlin when Watters decided to go off on liberals. "It’s funny, the left says they really respect women, and then when given an opportunity to respect a woman like that, they boo and hiss," he said. Then, Watters smiled, made a hand gesture and said, "So I don’t really get what’s going on here, but I really liked how she was speaking into that microphone."
It's safe to say that it did not go over well with users on Twitter. MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski tweeted to FOX, "Clean it up." She added the hashtags "#enough" and "#stepup" and wrote, "Microphone comments? Comments on hosts dresses? Get rid of those who cannot measure up."
New York Post columnist John Podhoretz also weighed in. "Congratulations, Jesse Watters, you're a disgusting pig as well as being a racist moron," he wrote. Stephanie Ruhle, also on MSNBC, pointed out how regulators looking at the 21st Century Fox and Sky TV merger might not appreciate the joke, either.
Watters defended himself via Twitter. "During the break we were commenting on Ivanka’s voice and how it was low and steady and resonates like a smooth jazz radio DJ,” Watters wrote. “This was in no way a joke about anything else." Whether or not that's true is anyone's guess, but his vacation plans may be a sign.
"I'm going to be taking a vacation with my family, so I'm not going to be here tomorrow," said Watters on the program Wednesday night. "I'll be back on Monday, so don't miss me too much." That could be just a normal trip, but when O'Reilly came under fire for sexual assault allegations (which he denied) and payouts of $13 million over the years, he promptly went on vacation. And then he never came back.
The O'Reilly Factor was definitively canceled last week. The Five then moved to its new, more prominent hour, which means even more viewers saw this uncomfortable joke.