Jesse Watters’ efforts to investigate why a Massachusetts college took down the American flag ended in a phone call to police.
The “O’Reilly Factor” segment that aired on Fox News Wednesday night featured the correspondent traveling to Hampshire College in Amherst to ask residents for their opinion on the matter. He specifically asked them to weigh in on Hampshire College president Jonathan Lash’s leadership.
“You ask the question, he’d have to answer that,” a man told Watters. So the reporter decided to confront Lash after he parked his car at his home.
“Don’t you realize the whole country is laughing at you right now,” Watters told the college president, and then stuck his foot in Lash’s doorway to prevent him from shutting it.
“C’mon, get your foot out of my door,” Lash said. “I don’t want to talk to you about it. Would you please remove your foot from my door?”
Instead of obliging the man’s request, Watters added, “You made a lot of people very upset. I think you owe the country an explanation.”
The segment cuts before any kind of resolution to the confrontation, but according to a statement from Hampshire College, the police had to be called.
“Members of the media are familiar with widely accepted protocols to contact the office of communications to coordinate interview requests. In this instance, a Fox reporter and camera person did not request an interview but rather entered private property and then tried to prevent the president of the college from entering his private home,” the college said. “As a result, campus security and the local police department were alerted.”
Fox News has not yet responded to TheWrap’s request for comment. O’Reilly, however, said on the air Wednesday that he thought Watters handled the situation well.
“If [Lash] had the courage of his convictions, he’d stand there with you and say this is why I did it, allow you to ask him questions, as a journalist would. You were polite to him,” O’Reilly said. “So he’s a villain and a coward.”
The segment ends with O’Reilly declaring “the college is done” because it’s “a laughing stock.”
Hampshire College previously explained that students lowered the flag a day after Donald Trump’s election, as a “reaction to the toxic tone of the months-long election and the escalating number of news reports from across the country over recent months and years of hate speech, harassment, and violence against people of color, immigrants, international citizens, and Muslims.”
After the school raised the flag again the next day, someone burned it. In response, the school announced on Nov. 18 that it would stop flying the flag on the campus pole in an effort to create discussion and “focus our efforts on addressing racist, misogynistic, Islamophobic, anti-immigrant, anti-Semitic, and anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and behaviors.”
As the “Watters World” segment pointed out, Amherst residents disturbed by the school’s decision have held protests in response.