NEW YORK (AP) — Fox News personality Bill O’Reilly apologized Tuesday for saying he had a hard time concentrating on California Rep. Maxine Waters during a speech because he was distracted by her “James Brown wig.”

O’Reilly said that his jest about her hair was dumb. “I apologize,” he said in a statement.

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He had made his statement during an appearance earlier on “Fox & Friends,” after a clip was shown of the Democratic representative speaking in the House of Representatives. O’Reilly, as he watched, appeared to mouth the words “right on” and give a clenched-fist salute.

After the clip, he said, “I didn’t hear a word she said. I was looking at the James Brown wig.” Fox’s Ainsley Earhardt defended Waters, saying O’Reilly shouldn’t go after a woman’s looks.

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O’Reilly also said that Waters, who is black, should have “her own sitcom.”

In his apology, O’Reilly said that “as I have said many times, I respect Congresswoman Maxine Waters for being sincere in her beliefs.”

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