The Biden administration is calling out and condemning the “hateful” words spoken Wednesday by Fox News’ Jesse Watters about Arab Americans and Muslims on the network’s “The Five.”
White House spokesperson Andrew Bates issued a statement to The Daily Beast on Thursday responding to Watters’ comments, which Bates went on to share on X (formerly Twitter).
“Fox News owes an apology to every single viewer for this sickening attack on the rights and dignity of their fellow Americans,” Bates said in the statement.
The @WhiteHouse demanded "Fox News apologize to its viewers over host Jesse Watters’ remarks that he’s 'had it' with Arab-Americans & Muslims, noting that his 'unacceptable remarks' come just weeks after a 6-year-old Palestinian-American boy was murdered." https://t.co/oqMSnwidHq
— Andrew Bates (@AndrewJBates46) November 2, 2023
On Wednesday, Watters began his comments on Fox News’ “The Five,” “I want to say something about Arab Americans and about the Muslim world. We — and when I say ‘we,’ I mean the West and Western technology — have created the Middle East.”
Watters continued, “We made them rich. We got that oil out of the ground. Our military protects all of these oil shipments flying around the world, making them rich. We fund their military, we respect their kings, we kill their terrorists. OK?”
Watters’ comments circulated online, gaining a high degree of attention, including from the Biden White House. In their response to the conservative news network, the White House called for Watters to apologize to the Arab and Muslim American communities.
“These hateful lies about ‘Arab Americans and…the Muslim world’ highlight the urgency of President Biden’s work to ensure hate has no safe harbor in America, and why he committed to the first national anti-Islamophobia strategy in our history,” Bates said in a statement.
“These unacceptable remarks come just weeks after the heartbreaking killing of a 6-year-old Palestinian-American child, and during a spike in threats against Muslim and Arab Americans,” Bates concluded. “President Biden will always stand up against Islamophobia, antisemitism, and all forms of hate. Fox News should learn from his example.”
This isn’t the first time Watters has made headlines for making insensitive and offensive comments about communities of color. Back in May, he claimed he could tell that a family he saw digging through trash while on his way to work was an “illegal immigration family.”
“The mayor here is complaining about a couple thousand, with more resources than any other city in the entire country? That’s ridiculous,” Watters said at the time, also during an airing of “The Five.” “Now, I saw on the way into work an illegal immigration family digging through the trash looking for recyclables.”
“How did you know they were illegal?” Jessica Tarlov cut in, questioning Watters.
“You can tell,” Watters retorted.
“Jesse,” Tarlov said, seemingly astonished by Watters’ claim. “I can tell,” Watters said. “I’m a city guy, and you don’t want me to get into it, but I can tell.”
It didn’t take long for that clip to go viral, with one Twitter user gaining more than 550,000 views after reposting the video. Views and a load of comments followed.
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