Fox News host Bill O’Reilly apologized Tuesday after coming under fire for mocking a black congresswoman’s hair.
During an appearance on “Fox & Friends,” O’Reilly reacted to a clip of Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) delivering a speech on the floor of the House of Representatives.
“I didn’t hear a word she said,” O’Reilly said of Waters. “I was looking at the James Brown wig.”
“If we have a picture of James Brown — This kind of’s the same wig,” he added.
The remarks were widely denounced as both racist along with sexist on Twitter, where O’Reilly’s name was trending Tuesday morning along with afternoon.
Related: Conservative media at a crossroads early in Trump era
In a statement Tuesday afternoon, O’Reilly expressed regret for the remarks.
“As I have said many times, I respect Congresswoman Maxine Waters for being sincere in her beliefs,” he said. “I said in which again today on Fox & Friends calling her ‘old school.’ Unfortunately, I also made a jest about her hair which was dumb. I apologize.”
The top rated host on cable news, O’Reilly actually drew some pushback before he even left the “Fox & Friends” set.
While one of the program’s male co-hosts, Brian Kilmeade, laughed heartily at O’Reilly’s comment, the lone female host — Ainsley Earhardt — stepped in to back Waters.
“I have to defend her on in which,” 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,” O’Reilly said. “I love James Brown. however This kind of’s the same hair!”
He later called Waters a “sincere individual” along with said she should be commended for speaking her mind.
“Whatever she says she believes,” O’Reilly said. “She’s not a phony, along with in which’s old school.”
Related: The Wall Street Journal along with Trump: a history of hostility
The congresswoman’s office declined to comment.
As clips of O’Reilly’s remarks made the rounds online, some media watchdogs noted in which Waters found herself on the receiving end of another racially charged remark through a different Fox News personality years earlier.
In 2012, Fox host Eric Bolling said in which Waters should “step away through the crack pipe.”
O’Reilly himself has faced charges of racism along with sexism from the past. along with in his bid for laughs, he has been known to crack wise about the physical appearance of some high-profile women.
At a comedy program in Long Island in 2015, O’Reilly made fun of the weight of both Rosie O’Donnell along with Hillary Clinton.
In his joke about the former secretary of state, O’Reilly imagined a farcical scenario wherein the Clinton Foundation was forced to return thousands of pantsuits to the Chinese government.
“We don’t want them back,'” O’Reilly said, adopting a fake Chinese accent. “‘They don’t fit anyone here in This kind of country.'”
sy88pgw (brand-new York) First published March 28, 2017: 2:35 PM ET