Ivanka Trump speaks on stage next to Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland (L) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde (R) at the Women 20 summit in Berlin, Germany.
(Photo: Sean Gallup, Getty Images)
As if Fox News didn’t have enough trouble, now there’s another controversy brewing from one of its on-air personalities.
Jesse Watters, who appeared on Bill O’Reilly’s The O’Reilly Factor, is under fire for a gesture and a grin that he made on another Fox News show about President Trump’s daughter.
During a segment in Tuesday’s show on The Five, Watters commented on Ivanka Trump’s recent visit to Berlin, where the first daughter defended her father’s attitudes towards women despite noticeable boos from the audience at the Women 20 summit on economic empowerment. Watters criticized the crowd’s reaction, saying, “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."
But then he followed his commentary with a hand gesture and a smirk, adding: “So I don’t really get what’s going on here, but I really liked how she was speaking into that microphone.”
The viral moment, captured by journalist Yashar Ali, was quickly picked up by critics who denounced Watters’ remark as sexual in nature:
In a statement Wednesday, the Fox News host defended himself and rejected the allegations centered around his remarks.
"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 said. “This was in no way a joke about anything else.”
The recent controversy comes at an inopportune time for Fox News. Earlier this month, O’Reilly, a conservative megastar talk show host, was dismissed from the network after an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment. His departure followed the ouster last year of chairman and CEO Roger Ailes over allegations of sexual impropriety.
This isn’t the first time Watters has come under fire. Last October, he was heavily criticized for a segment on The O’Reilly Factor taped in New York’s Chinatown neighborhood that was widely viewed as having racist overtones.
Contributing: Doug Stanlin