Wick Communications

Don’t try this at home

In Ethics on 6 Oct 2016 at 3:48 pm


Today’s really bad idea comes to us from our friends at Fox News.

That is where a man named John Watters has a recurring man-on-the-street segment he tapes for the popular Bill O’Reilly show. Apparently inspired by the fact that Chinese relations has been a regular topic on the presidential campaign trail, Watters or Fox producers or someone decided to take to the streets of Chinatown in Manhattan and make fun of people based on their race. Great idea, right?

Suffice to say, many Asian people didn’t find it funny when, for example, Fox played Carl Douglas’ “Kung Fu Fighting” behind the piece or when Watters said Asian people would vote for Hillary Clinton “So China can keep ripping us off.”

It was supposed to be funny. I get that. But surely, in 2016, we know better than to make fun out of someone’s race or culture. As a result of this ill-advised attempt at humor, there was a protest in front of Fox headquarters and the mayor of New York City called for Watters to be fired.

The piece has also drawn heat from journalists, too.

“We should be far beyond tired, racist stereotypes and targeting an ethnic group for humiliation and objectification on the basis of their race,” said the Asian-American Journalist Association in a prepared statement. …

Want to know the worst part? For me, nothing is worse than offending a group of people based on their race and then whiffing at an apology on Twitter. As if 140 characters will absolve you. In Watters case, it wasn’t so much the format of his attempted apology as it was what he said in the tweet.

“My man-on-the-street interviews are meant to be taken as tongue-in-cheek and I regret if anyone found offense,” he wrote on Wednesday. Read that again. He doesn’t regret that he did it. He regrets “if anyone found offense.”

He doesn’t seem to understand that folks didn’t find offense. He brought it right to their doorstep.


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