It came during a segment Wednesday on Fox’s The Five as Watters was trying to compliment King for her composure and professionalism during her R. Kelly interview in which the R&B singer went ballistic this week, but it soon became clear Watters didn’t know who he was praising.
Here’s how it went down:
Jesse Watters: “Hats off to Gayle King, for totally redeeming herself after the [Jussie] Smollett fiasco. “(He was referring to Roberts’ interview with Empire star Jussie Smollett on Good Morning America last month).
Juan Williams: “Janet, I, you know…”
Dana Perino: “That was not Gayle King.”
Watters: “Oh. I knew that.”
Perino: “Robin Roberts did the Smollett interview.”
Williams: “One of the things that I think lots of people…”
Watters: “Sorry for Robin Roberts out there.”
Williams: “Go right ahead, Jesse. It’s cool.”
Watters: “I apologize.”
Watters apologized again later in the show with a note on a whiteboard, “I’m sorry Gayle + Robin.”
During the Kelly interview, the singer screamed and pounded his fists as King calmly asked him pointed questions about the sexual abuse allegations with which he had just been charged and also those he’s been accused of in the past. King has drawn praise for how she handled the situation from colleagues and the public alike.
Roberts’ interview with Smollett aired two days before the Empire star was arrested for allegedly filing a false police report after claiming he’d been attacked in a hate crime.
Roberts was criticized for not asking tough enough questions of Smollett and for not challenging him on the holes and red flags in his story.