A Friday afternoon conversation on Fox News’ “The Five” erupted when co-host Jesse Watters insisted that fellow co-host Juan Williams “apologize” to West Point cadets accused of racism.
Cadets caught on camera flashing the “okay” symbol during Saturday’s Army-Navy football game resulted in a military investigation that ultimately cleared them of using the symbol to convey so-called “white power.” Instead, the cadets were playing the common “circle game,” where the symbol is made below someone’s waist and the person is punched if they look down at it.
“Last Saturday we had reason to believe these actions were an innocent game and not linked to extremism, but we must take allegations such as these very seriously,” said the academy’s superintendent in a news release. “We are disappointed by the immature behavior of the cadets.”
Although cleared of racism, the cadets will face “appropriate administrative and/or disciplinary actions,” the university stated.
Fox News co-host Dana Perino introduced the topic by playing media reaction to the original story before bringing up the quick investigation and ultimate clearing of the cadets. However, it wasn’t long before Williams and Watters crossed swords.
“It’s when you put it down there and someone sees it, you get to punch them in the arm,” Watters said, explaining the game. “I explained that to Juan, Juan accused them of being white supremacists, so I would like Juan to apologize for accusing the cadets of using a white power symbol.”
“Let me tell you something,” Williams said, interrupting Watters.
“That doesn’t sound like an apology,” said Watters.
“Jesse, we were very clear that that symbol is now associated with white supremacy,” said Williams.
“Let me tell you something, Juan,” Watters responded. “If all of a sudden a dozen white supremacists started wearing a blue tie and the next day I wore a blue tie, am I flashing a white supremacist signal?”
The two continued to debate until Williams brought up alt-right symbol Pepe the Frog. (RELATED: Jesse Watters Forces Juan Williams To ‘Give Up’ When He Pulls Out ‘Mutual Legal Assistance’ Treaty With Ukraine)
“Are you really talking about a cartoon?” Watters exclaimed. “Juan, I wasn’t even going to get upset, but you accused these people of being racist. They put their lives on the line for this country and you said they were racist because they made a symbol with their hands. And you should apologize because I’m giving you an opportunity.”
Williams refused, insisting the cadets were ultimately punished for “bad behavior.”