Fox News host Jesse Watters apologized on Wednesday after confusing CBS News host Gayle King with “Good Morning America” host Robin Roberts. The moment took place during an episode of “The Five” — and came as Watters attempted to praise King for her much discussed interview with R. Kelly.
“Hats off to Gayle King for totally redeeming herself after the [Jussie] Smollett fiasco,” Watters said.
“That was not Gayle King,” fellow co-host Dana Perino corrected. “Robin Roberts did the Smollett interview.”
As analyst Juan Williams attempted to power through the moment, Watters broke in to apologize.
“Sorry for Robin Roberts out there,” he said “I apologize.”
Later on in the program, Watters held up a small white board reiterating his apology to the two anchors. “I’m sorry Gayle + Robin.”
Reps for ABC declined to comment. Reps for CBS did not immediately respond to request for comment. On Wednesday however, Watters was far from alone in heaping praise on King, who has increasingly become CBS News’ most indispensable anchor.
On Twitter, fans from across the spectrum said her work — particularly during Kelly’s more emotional moments — had been a master class of interviewing.
“There’s a lot going on in these R. Kelly clips. But one thing that jumps out is how direct, super clear and no frills these questions are by @GayleKing,” director Ava DuVernay said on Twitter. “She’s asking exactly what most of us would ask if we were in her seat. Crazy how refreshing it is. Speaks to how rare it is.”
“This is wild. @GayleKing is again teaching a master’s class in interviewing. She remains so calm and focused while @rkelly loses it,” added PBS White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor.
During the exchange a distraught Kelly pleaded his innocence. The musician is currently facing multiple felony sexual abuse charges. “Quit playin’. I didn’t do this stuff. This is not me,” Kelly said, staring directly into the camera. “I’m fighting for my f—ing life.”
Kelly then stood up and began berating King. Throughout the moment she remained unfazed by the outburst, calmly addressing him as “Robert.”