At a press conference outside the network’s Midtown headquarters Thursday afternoon, politicians including Assemblyman Ron Kim, Comptroller Scott Stringer and Public Advocate Letitia James claimed that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s campaign has given the media license to broadcast content that perpetuates racism and stereotypes.
The segment in question — which features “O’Reilly Factor” correspondent Jesse Watters interviewing people on the streets of Chinatown — mocked its subjects and portrayed them as “uneducated foreigners,” Kim said.
“What happened over the last few years that empowered people like Watters and O’Reilly to produce these type of racist segments?” Kim asked. “Trump happened.”
“Trump and people like Trump see people like us as never American enough, never real Americans,” he added.
The video was “part of the continuing dialogue that speaks to the worst in the American people,” Stringer said.
“That, by the way, is the Trump candidacy, and that’s what it’s all about,” he added.
After the segment aired, Watters tweeted out a “non-apology,” Kim said
My man-on-the-street interviews are meant to be taken as tongue-in-cheek and I regret if anyone found offense.— Jesse Watters (@jessebwatters) October 5, 2016
“What does that mean?" Kim asked of the tweet. "That means, ‘I don’t really get it, I don’t find it offensive, but people seemed kind of pissed off, so here’s some cheap, empty words to placate you.'
“That’s even worse," he said. "That’s insulting."