Perhaps there’s something in the water, but there seems to be an uptick of attacks on Black women in the public eye lately, and we’re not going to stand for it.
Tuesday morning, things got off to a crazy start when Bill O’Reilly stopped by Fox & Friends and refused to comment on Congresswoman Maxine Waters’ assertions about Donald Trump (basically that he’s terrible) because he said he was distracted by the lawmaker’s hair.
“I didn’t hear a word [Maxine Waters] said,” O’Reilly said. “I was looking at the James Brown wig. If we have a picture of James, it’s the same wig.”
Waters has been a strident critic of Trump since he took office, calling out his “Kremlin clan” and saying her greatest joy would be “to lead him straight to impeachment.” O’Reilly was asked to discuss Waters’ argument that Trump is dangerous for America, but the TV host just couldn’t do it. Instead, he decided to talk about her hair, because….who even knows.
O’Reilly, who has a long history of spouting off racially insensitive comments, was roundly dragged on Twitter. Many of his critics brought up the Fox News host’s problematic history– he’s been accused of domestic abuse and sexual harassment–while others merely said his comments crossed the line.
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. https://t.co/2d2ldkCv92
— Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) March 28, 2017
— Copley (@Woofield69) March 28, 2017
Bill O'Reilly is an asshole. A racist, misogynistic asshole.
— Sophia Bush (@SophiaBush) March 28, 2017
— Red-Nosed Sean (@seankent) March 28, 2017
CNN commentator Angela Rye–who also got into a war of words with former Congressman Joe Walsh today–didn’t mince any words, and got straight to the point about O’Reilly.
— A N G E L A | R Y E (@angela_rye) March 28, 2017
After his comments went viral, O’Reilly issued an apology.
“As I have said many times, I respect Congresswoman Maxine Waters for being sincere in her beliefs. 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,” he said.
Yeah, no…apology not accepted.
The Fox News host wasn’t the only one who took a public swipe at a professional Black woman. Tuesday afternoon, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer became extremely combative with journalist April Ryan when she asked about the ongoing questions surrounding the Trump administration’s possible ties to Russia.
— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) March 28, 2017
As Ryan tried to follow up her question with another one, like all other journalists do, Spicer told the veteran reporter to “stop shaking her head.”
MSNBC host Joy-Ann Reid wondered what time period we were living in, because surely, it can’t be 2017.
Was there a meeting this morning where folks decided to act like it's 1952? Cause not for nothing… it's NOT 1952. https://t.co/avu47Q0Hk3
— Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) March 28, 2017
While O’Reilly and Spicer’s comments caused a stir on the national stage, as writer and activist Brittany Packnett pointed out on Twitter, being criticized, “joked” about, intimidated, and silenced are experiences Black women have every single day.
— Brittany Packnett (@MsPackyetti) March 28, 2017
Don’t believe me? The hashtag #BlackWomenAtWork quickly began trending on Twitter because so many women could relate to the double blow of racism and sexism in the workplace.
Pulling into my own reserved parking space and being told by a random WW that cleaning people can't park there. #BlackWomenAtWork
— Gina Prince-Bythewood (@GPBmadeit) March 28, 2017
I'm 5 feet tall. 90 pounds. Former cheerleader. Told I was intimidating and off-putting by colleague on third day. #BlackWomenAtWork
— Tori (@ToriJoi) March 28, 2017
#BlackWomenAtWork Walking into a room, running the presentation, and people still ask your white colleagues questions about your work
— Nika M. (@rubyleebakeshop) March 28, 2017
Being asked whether I "want to be here" because people find me "intimidating" if I don't smile all the time. #BlackWomenAtWork
— 💋 Kay Renee💋 (@KayReneeESQ) March 28, 2017
— Scorpion Queen (@tammie_grier) March 28, 2017
As Black women continue to make strides in every aspect of life, it’s sad that we still have to deal with antiquated attitudes, stereotypes, and racism affecting how we are seen and treated.