- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Fox News host Bill O’Reilly is getting slammed on social media for saying black Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters wears a “James Brown wig.”

“The O’Reilly Factor” host was sitting on the “Fox & Friends” couch Tuesday morning when he said he couldn’t pay attention to anything Ms. Waters said because he was so distracted by her hair.

“I didn’t hear a word she said. I was looking at the James Brown wig,” Mr. O’Reilly joked. “If we have a picture of James, it’s the same wig.”

Mr. O’Reilly was referring to a clip of Ms. Waters on the House floor Monday saying President Trump’s opponents are more “patriotic” than his supporters. The Fox host praised Ms. Waters as a “sincere individual” who truly believes what she says.

“I love her. Maxine Waters should have her own sitcom,” Mr. O’Reilly said. “People get angry with Maxine Waters. I want more of it.”

As far as the purported wig, “Fox & Friends” co-host Ainsley Earhardt warned Mr. O’Reilly not to attack a woman’s appearance.

“I’ve got to defend her on that. I have to defend her on that,” Ms. Earhardt said. “You can’t go after a woman’s looks. I think she’s very attractive.”

“I didn’t say she wasn’t attractive. I love James Brown!” Mr. O’Reilly replied. “But it’s the same hair James Brown — the ‘Godfather of Soul’ — had.”

Mr. O’Reilly’s comments were slammed as racist and misogynistic on social media. By Tuesday afternoon, he had become a top trending topic on Twitter in the U.S.

MSNBC’s Joy Reid tweeted that the Fox News host crossed a “huge, bright, red line.”

“I seem to recall Don Imus being fired for similar commentary about black women; though in that case, not about a *member of congress*,” she wrote in a series of tweets. “A man accused of spousal abuse and sexual harassment is attacking a member of congress in crass racial and gender terms on a major network.”

CNN commentator and NPR analyst Angela Rye tweeted the hashtag #keepMAXINEoutyourmouth and told Mr. O’Reilly to “go straight to hell.”

MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell tweeted: “Cable news isn’t exactly a beauty pageant but O’Reilly is the physically & morally ugliest guy in his field, right?”

Mr. O’Reilly apologized for the comment in a statement Tuesday afternoon, calling the joke “dumb.”

“As I have said many times, I respect Congresswoman Maxine Waters for being sincere in her beliefs,” he said. “I said that again today on Fox & Friends calling her ‘old school.’ Unfortunately, I also made a jest about her hair which was dumb. I apologize.”

Notably, the Fox News host also sent out a tweet saying his show Tuesday night would tackle political correctness.

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