Maxine Waters Fires Back At Bill O'Reilly, And Makes A Stand For Women

"Be who you are, do what you do, and let us get on with discussing the real issues of this country."

As Maxine Waters gave an impassioned speech on the House floor, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly was distracted by one thing: her looks.

During a Fox & Friends segment where O'Reilly was watching Waters discuss the patriotism that comes with being critical of the president, O'Reilly admitted he didn't hear anything she said

"I didn't hear a word she said. I was looking at the James Brown wig," he said. 

Waters, who is African-American, did not take the comments lightly. 

Waters also went on MSNBC to respond to the comments in a conversation with Christopher Hayes.

"I'd like to say to women out there everywhere: don't allow these right-wing talking heads, these dishonorable people, to intimidate or scare you," Waters said. "Be who you are, do what you do, and let us get on with discussing the real issues of this country."

O'Reilly has a long history of making racially charged comments on the air, and this latest one has left some people calling for his removal. It's also not the first time Fox News has attacked Waters. In 2012, another Fox News host — Eric Bolling — caused controversy when he suggested Waters "step away from the crack pipe."

"You saw what happened to Whitney Houston," he said.

The comments come at a tumultuous time for the network. Just last year, Fox News had to settle with former host Gretchen Carlson over sexual harassment charges against CEO Roger Ailes. Former host Megyn Kelly, once the most recognizable woman on the network, also wrote about Ailes' alleged sexual advances in her new book. Now, two African-American women who used to work for Fox News are suing the network for "top-down racial harassment."  

After an uproar over O'Reilly's comments, the Fox News host took the time to apologize on his show and through a statement issued to the press. But in the same segment, he also suggested Waters was scared to come on his show because she'd be "challenged" and questioned her patriotism.  

While Waters' response was largely cheered, it also touched on a larger issue: that people are discussing her looks over the content of what she's saying. 

"When a woman stands up and speaks truth to power, there will be attempts to put her down," Waters said. "And so, I'm not going to be put down, I'm not going to go anywhere. I'm going to stay on the issues." 

Cover photo: Gregory ReedShutterstock

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