“The women are not helping their case by their behavior,” Jesse Watters said Monday on Fox News’ “The Five.”
“If you go out and you disparage the president, you act in unpatriotic ways and then complain about not getting paid equally, well, what do you think is going to happen? People are not going to watch,” Watters said.
Watters claimed their criticism of President Trump led to lower ratings and said he talked to “…many, many people this weekend who said, ‘I love soccer, I’m not watching the U.S. women because I didn’t like what they said.’”
Ratings and revenue
The USWNT won the Women’s World Cup for the fourth time in history this Sunday. Although ratings for the final against the Netherlands were down from the USWNT’s final against Japan four years ago, they were significantly higher than the ratings for last year’s Men’s World Cup final between France and Croatia.
Viewership, revenue and success have been major talking points for the USWNT, whose players are in the midst of a battle for equal pay. Earlier this year, 28 members of the team levied a lawsuit against the US Soccer Federation alleging gender discrimination in compensation and treatment.
Their latest World Cup win, they argue, is clear evidence that their fight is justified.
“At this moment of tremendous pride for America, the sad equation remains all too clear, and Americans won’t stand for it anymore. These athletes generate more revenue and garner higher TV ratings but get paid less simply because they are women,” Molly Levinson, spokeswoman for the USWNT players in their equal pay lawsuit, said after the final game.
In 2018, a Wall Street Journal report found U.S. women’s soccer games brought in more revenue than men’s games in the three years following their 2015 victory.
The USWNT’s championship streak has made household names of stars like Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan. However, their candor in talking about political issues and gender equality have sparked controversy and criticism. Most notably, Rapinoe was sent through the threshing machine of internet outrage when she said, in the early rounds of the tournament, that she wouldn’t go to the “f***ing White House” if they won. This prompted a Twitter attack from the President himself. Regardless, they did win. And so far, no word on whether a White House invitation is coming their way.
Watters’ behavior has raised eyebrows several times in his career. In 2017, the commentator came under fire for remarks he made about Ivanka Trump’s appearance at a women’s panel in Germany.
“So I don’t really get what’s going on here, but I really liked how she was speaking into that microphone,” Watters said on air.
Watters was also at the center of 2016 controversy regarding a racist “O’Reilly Factor” segment. In the segment, Watters approached people in New York City’s Chinatown to ask them questions about the presidential election and U.S.-China relations. However, he also asked strangers if he should bow when saying hello, accused a street vendor of selling stolen watches and asked someone who appeared to be Chinese if he knew karate.