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Fox News’ Jesse Watters Is Taking an Abrupt Vacation After Ivanka Trump ‘Microphone’ Joke

Fox News’ Jesse Watters, a co-host of The Five, faced social media backlash Wednesday for remarks about Ivanka Trump’s appearance in Berlin that were interpreted as a crude innuendo. On his show Wednesday night, Watters told viewers he’s taking a two-day vacation, an abrupt announcement that came just three days into his show’s new 9 p.m. time slot.

During The Five the previous night, Watters and his fellow hosts discussed Ivanka Trump’s recent trip to Germany, where she took part in a panel on women’s empowerment at the W20 Summit. Shortly after showing a clip of the first daughter on stage with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde, Watters said he “really liked how [Trump] was speaking into that microphone.”

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Watters’ remarks drew attention on social media after being tweeted by journalist Yashar Ali, with some commenters interpreting Watters’ comment as a sexual innuendo.

The host later defended himself to BuzzFeed: “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,” he said.

Watters’ comment came as Fox News sits beneath a cloud of sexual harassment allegations against former host Bill O’Reilly and former chairman and CEO Roger Ailes. Claims from multiple women preceded both men’s exits from the company. Ailes left in July and O’Reilly departed earlier this month, after announcing his own vacation. Ailes and O’Reilly deny the allegations against them.

This week, The Five assumed the 9 p.m. primetime slot on Fox News after host Tucker Carlson replaced O’Reilly in the coveted 8 p.m. hour. Watters’ vacation will see him miss two days of The Five and his Saturday show Watters’ World.