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The Internet to Bill O'Reilly: Leave Congresswoman Maxine Waters' hair out of this

Rep. Maxine Waters. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)
Rep. Maxine Waters. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

Bill O'Reilly found a new enemy Tuesday morning in the form of California Rep. Maxine Waters' hair. 

After spending extended time on Monday's episode of "The O'Reilly Factor" defending colleague Sean Hannity from Ted Koppel, O'Reilly stopped by "Fox & Friends," where he was asked about Waters' recent criticisms about President Trump.

O'Reilly was then shown a clip from Waters' speech on the House floor and responded, saying, "I didn't hear a word [Waters] said. I was looking at the James Brown wig. If we have a picture of James, it's the same wig."

Beyond the inappropriateness of insulting people on their appearance, O'Reilly also overstepped right into a minefield when he targeted the hair of a black woman. 

The 2009 documentary "Good Hair" delved into the history and evolution of matters of hair among African American women. It's an issue that continues to be so culturally relevant that comedian Phoebe Robinson titled her 2016 memoir "You Can't Touch My Hair," and Solange Knowles included a track on her 2016 album, "A Seat at the Table," called "Don't Touch My Hair." 

Beyond the cultural issues, O'Reilly is dismissing the statements of the most senior black woman in the United States Congress — there are 12 total — because of what her hair looks like.

Since O'Reilly was so distracted, here's the message that Waters was delivering:

African Americans “fight against this president, and we point out how dangerous he is for this society and for this country. We’re fighting for the democracy.

"We’re saying to those who say they’re patriotic but they’ve turned a blind eye to the destruction that he’s about to cause this country, ‘You’re not nearly as patriotic as we are.'”

Waters has served in the House of Representatives for more than 25 years, originally elected to represent California's 29th Congressional District in 1991. 

That same year, O'Reilly was hosting "Inside Edition."

Things devolved on "Fox & Friends" after O'Reilly's statement, with co-host Brian Kilmeade quickly agreeing with O'Reilly, saying, "It's the same one" and referencing the fact that Brown is dead.

Co-host Ainsley Earhardt tried to improve the situation with (arguably a misguided) understanding of feminism, stating, "You can't go after a woman's looks. I think she's very attractive."

When the men agreed on Waters' looks, O'Reilly stands by the hair comparison, which leads Earhardt to state that Brown "had girl hair."

No surprise, the Internet was incensed over the exchange.

O'Reilly released a statement several hours after the segment aired and apologized for his comments.

"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," O'Reilly said.

Shortly thereafter, O'Reilly tweeted about tonight's episode of "The O'Reilly Factor" tackling political correctness.

Timing is everything.

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