Rep. Maxine Waters blasted President Donald Trump on Wednesday over his defence of Bill O’Reilly despite new revelations of numerous sexual harassment allegations leveled against the Fox News host.
Appearing on MSNBC, the congresswoman said she was “not surprised” the president defended O’Reilly, citing Trump’s history of lewd comments about women.
“It’s coming out of the mouth of a man who has said some horrible things about women,” Waters said. “Don’t forget he talked about grabbing women in their private parts, and he could get away with it because he’s important. They are two of a kind.”
The California congresswoman dubbed Fox News a “sexual harassment enterprise,” alluding to similar accusations leveled against former CEO Roger Ailes, and called for O’Reilly to be criminally prosecuted.
“It shouldn’t be in America that you can sexually harass women and then buy your way out of it because you’re rich,” she said. “If they continue to do this in the way that they have done they need to go to jail.”
Waters added: “Bill O’Reilly needs to go to jail.”
The New York Times revealed on Saturday previously unknown sexual-harassment complaints that resulted in settlements paid by Fox and O’Reilly to five former coworkers, who alleged repeated instances of verbal abuse, lewd comments, and unwanted advances.
O’Reilly has denied that there is any merit to the allegations against him.
Critics called for an advertiser boycott until O’Reilly was removed, and by Wednesday evening, over 30 advertisers publicly pulled ads from “The O’Reilly Factor.”
Waters’ comments came just a week after she found herself on the receiving end of O’Reilly’s commentary.
The Fox News anchor apologised after joking that he could not focus on the substance of Waters’ criticism of Trump because O’Reilly was distracted by her “James Brown wig.”
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