Yes, folks, this is a real question that Jesse Watters asked a student standing outside of J. Walter Wilson Wednesday afternoon. I can only imagine what the student in question would have had the capacity to do, given such a hypothetical. Call Madonna on her personal cell and implore her not to? Watch her 80s era music videos backwards hoping to uncover some sort of communist-sympathizing messages of subliminal indoctrination? Who knows.
Watters was also observed asking a student, whose head was covered by a winter scarf, for their name. When the student refused to answer the query, Watters pressed further. “Why is your face covered? What are you hiding?” The student’s sustained silence did not dissuade the camera crew from keeping their cameras trained on them for a minute or more as the student greeted passing friends with whispers, stifled by the trained lens.
This student has said that they were leading an effort to tell other students not to engage with Watters, that their words would only be twisted by editing. They recruited friends to observe the camera crew via text message and disrupted interviews by repeating the narrative of earlier events. Earlier, the Watters crew had gone into a restaurant on Thayer. The students went in after to have lunch. The crew proceeded to photograph the students and mime photo-taking gestures at them until the student felt compelled to ask the waitstaff to intercede.
After the meal, Watters’ crew took photographs of the student’s receipt in order to capture personal information that the students had declined to disclose. This maneuver prompted the student to reach out to campus administrators, urging them to stand up for students whose images were being captured without consent. The student expressed frustration at the lack of an expedient response saying, “Either they don’t understand the gravity of the situation … or this University will always place its public image over the physical and practical well-being of its students.”
The Watters crew can be seen here walking along with the scarved student (carrying white bag)
Murmurs from the crowd formed a coherent inquiry: “What are they doing here? It’s only the first day of school?” When one student asked a cameraman what their purpose there was, the man replied, “medicinal toxicity.” If that were so, Alpert seems like a more appropriate location for their queries, but who knows.
The Watters crew was observed interviewing another student about classes and ideas surrounding the concept of “toxic masculinity.” At one point, Watters told the student that their masculinity was “pure.” The student interviewed called the line of questioning counterproductive and lacking nuance.