However, unlike O’Reilly before him, don’t expect this to mean he’s done at the network.
“I’m going to be taking a vacation with my family, so I’m not going to be here tomorrow,” the 38-year-old said on Wednesday’s edition of The Five, the roundtable gabfest he now co-hosts in its new, post-O’Reilly timeslot of 9 p.m. ET. “I’ll be back on Monday, so don’t miss me too much.”
The previous evening, on the show’s second night in primetime, Watters made what many perceived to be a sexually crude remark about the way First Daughter Ivanka Trump spoke into a microphone during an event in Germany.
“It’s funny. The left says they really respect women and then when given an opportunity to respect a woman like that they boo and hiss... so I don’t really get what’s going on here, but I really liked how she was speaking into that microphone,” he said, gesturing with his hand towards his mouth before flashing a signature shit-eating grin at his co-hosts.
In an attempt to quell the ensuing outrage, Watters pleaded innocent, stating: “During the break, we were commenting on Ivanka’s voice and how it was low and steady and resonates like a smooth jazz radio DJ. This was in no way a joke about anything else.”
A week after The New York Times revealed five sexual-harassment accusations against O’Reilly, and advertisers began boycotting en masse, the then-primetime ratings leader suddenly announced he would be going on a two-week Easter vacation.
O’Reilly jetted off to Rome, and was photographed meeting the Pope, but when he returned home, his Fox News career was over and The O’Reilly Factor was no more.
As such, media watchers might be quick to assume Watters’ sudden family vacation is similarly a move to hide the beleaguered star until the network can decide how to address his on-air antics. And it is certainly odd that he would go on a trip just three days into his newly minted primetime slot. Fox News declined to comment on questions related to his vacation.
However, those hoping for serial sexist and race-baiter Watters’ permanent exit—don’t get too excited. He survived after outraging the nation over his deeply offensive man-on-the-street segment mocking Asians, and the smirking dudebro will likely survive this.
Multiple sources at Fox News told The Daily Beast that Watters’ vacation is for real. According to one source close to Watters, the host’s trip was originally planned as being this entire week off, but because the O’Reilly shake-up led to drastic lineup changes, only now does Watters’s trip seem suspicious.
The sources insisted that there was nothing fishy going on here. Watters will return on Monday, as he said on-air. Come Monday, we shall see.