Juan Williams is one of the leading journalists in the United States. He has worked with several networks but most notably with Fox News where he is a political analyst and serves as a co-host of the panel talk show, The Five. The journalist has further made appearances on other programs including Special Report with Bret Baier and FOX News Sunday with Chris Wallace.
In addition, Williams makes contributions to many widely read journals such as The Atlantic Monthly and GQ. He has penned down several books and worked on a number of documentaries that have earned him some public recognition. As a result of his work and valuable contributions to society, the renowned TV personality has been bestowed with many honorary doctorates from various institutions. He has also been associated with the New York Civil Rights Coalition where he serves as a member of the Board of Directors.
Juan Williams is of Panamanian Origin
The Primetime Emmy Award-winning writer who identifies as Afro-Panamanian is the son of Géraldine and Rogelio L. Williams. He was born and named Juan Antonio Williams in Colón, Panama on the 10th of April 1954. His ancestry lies in both Panama where his mum comes from and the West Indies which is his father has roots. The entire Williams family has competence with the Spanish language which they speak fluently.
Williams revealed in a 2018 op-ed that when he was just four years old, he legally emigrated with his mum and two of his siblings from his home country of Panama to the United States on a banana boat. On getting to America, the Williams family settled down to normal life in Brooklyn, New York.
— Juan Williams (@TheJuanWilliams) May 11, 2020
He Attained His Various Academic Qualifications with the Aid of a Scholarship
Juan Williams landed a scholarship to acquire basic education at Oakwood Friends School in Poughkeepsie, New York. His days at Oakwood were quite eventful as Juan functioned as editor of the student newspaper and was a clerk of the student body. He was also captain of the school’s baseball, cross-country, and championship basketball teams.
Williams graduated from Oakwood in 1972 and his quest for further academic qualifications led him to Haverford College, Pennsylvania where he was admitted to study for a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy. Williams graduated from Haverford in 1976 after which he launched his career in journalism.
Williams Started His News Reporting Career with The Washington Post
Juan Williams began his career at the Washington post, taking different roles which include working as a correspondent who covers national events and equally the White House. He also took up editorial roles during his long-term spell at the news agency which spanned over two decades; 23 years to be precise.
The Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill case came up when he was at the news agency. It happened that Williams wrote a column in defense of the Supreme Court nominee against the sworn testimony of Anita Hill who accused Thomas of sexual harassment. Following his write-up, Williams faced his own issues as several female staff of the Post started filing sexual harassment charges against him.
Juan Williams really had a rough time of it as the tabloid took disciplinary action against him, publishing an apology he wrote on the 2nd of November 1991 to address the issue. In his own words, the journalist expressed his regrets for offending his female colleagues, stating that he was actually pained to learn that his actions and utterances didn’t go down well with them.
— Juan Williams (@TheJuanWilliams) October 18, 2020
Juan Williams Became Part of The National Public Radio in 2000
Juan Williams’ time with the Washington Post came to an end in 2000 when he was recruited by the National Public Radio. At that time, he served as a contributor to Fox News. On NPR, he served as the host of the daily afternoon talk show, Talk of the Nation. He later climbed through the ranks to become a senior national correspondent covering national events for NPR.
Williams sparked controversy in 2009 after he made a derogatory comment about Michelle Obama on The O’Reilly Factor. Consequently, the President and chief executive officer of NPR Vivian Schiller requested that Fox News stop identifying him as an NPR host. According to Alicia Shepard, an NPR Ombudsman, Williams tends to speak one way on National Public Radio and another on Fox.
NPR Fired Him After He Made Another Controversial Remark
A couple of days after Juan Williams made another controversial remark on Fox’s The O’Reilly Factor, NPR took action to terminate his contract. This happened on the 20th of October 2010. William’s exact comment was that he gets worried and nervous whenever he gets on a plane and sees people in Muslim garbs identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims. Consequently, NPR took a stance saying that Williams’ remarks were inconsistent with the radio’s editorial standards and practices, and undermined William’s credibility as a news analyst with the network.
There were mixed reactions from observers following NPR’s treatment of Williams. Some actually believed that the real issue was because he made the comment on Fox News. People like William Saletan of Slate.com stated that the journalist’s comment was taken out of context, making him appear racist and led to the loss of his job.
Fox News Subsequently Recruited Juan Williams After He Left NPR
Juan Williams has been a contributor to Fox News since 1997. As a result, it was easy for the network to recruit him immediately he was sacked by NPR. His offer at Fox was quite good as the network offered him a three-year contract worth $2 million which was a considerable raise from what he was getting from NPR.
On The O’Reilly Factor, Williams has spoken about how his role at Fox played into NPR’s decision to let him go. According to him, he never quite fit into the NPR box as he will never be a predictable black liberal. He further added that NPR was just looking for reasons to terminate his contract because of his appearances on the more conservative Fox News Channel. He also added that his former employers did not want him talking to O’Reilly.
At Fox, Williams gained a lot of recognition as the co-host of the panel talk show, The Five. He has further been featured on other programs such as Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace and Special Report with Bret Baier among others. He has also served as the fill-in host of The O’Reilly Factor in Bill O’Reilly’s absence.
On the 9th of December 2016 during an appearance on Fox Business, Stuart Varney joking asked Williams if he sees himself ever joining the Republican Party in the future. The journalist’s answer was an unequivocal “yes”. He further buttressed his points by saying that since he has two sons who are part of the Republican Party, becoming a member himself is a possibility even though he is one of the strongest supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement.
A Peek at His Work with The Five
— Juan Williams (@TheJuanWilliams) April 9, 2020
When he was drafted to work on The Five, Juan Williams found himself working alongside people like Greg Gutfeld, Dana Perino, and Jesse Watters who serve as the panel that discusses current stories, political issues, and pop culture. More often than not, debates on the program are always feisty. A good example was when political satirist Greg and Juan erupted into a high-spirited debate over Michael Cohen’s (President Donald Trump’s former longtime attorney) bombshell public testimony where he said that he was deeply “ashamed” of representing the POTUS and accused the president of an array of wrongdoings. This led to Gutfeld threatening to throw Williams off the set for his comments.
Other Notable Work by Williams and The Many Publications Under His Belt
In addition to all of his work on TV with Fox, Juan Williams has appeared on other programs like Washington Week on PBS, ABC’s Nightline, and The Oprah Winfrey Show. He has further contributed to national magazines like The New York Times, The New Republic, Fortune, Ebony magazine, The Atlantic Monthly, GQ, TIME, and The Wall Street Journal as a writer.
Williams has, however, particularly gained a reputation for penning down the scripts of several TV documentaries that have won him an Emmy Award. Some of the documentaries that have earned the veteran journalist critical praise include Riot to Recovery and Dying for Healthcare, Civil Rights and The Press, Politics: The New Black Power, and A. Philip Randolph: For Jobs and Freedom among others.
Similarly, he has penned down several books including This Far by Faith: Stories from the African American Religious Experience (2003), I’ll Find a Way or Make One: A Tribute to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (2004), and Enough: The Phony Leaders, Dead-End Movements and Culture of Failure That Are Undermining Black American – and What We Can Do About It (2007).
His 1988 book titled Eyes on the Prize: America’s Civil Rights Years, 1954–65 was written with the Blackside production team as a companion to the debut season of the PBS series of the same name. Also, his 2003 book, This Far by Faith, is a companion to a PBS series.
Honorary Degrees and Awards His Work Has Earned Him
Juan Williams functioned as a spokesperson at the Smithsonian’s celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision which led to the end of legal segregation in public schools. His exemplary work further led the United States Census Bureau to select him as a moderator of its first program starting in 2010. Institutions like Wittenberg University, Lafayette College, and Long Island University have since awarded him honorary doctorates.
Other recognitions and awards he has been honored with include the Education Writers of America Award, FrontPage Award by the Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild, and others.
Juan Williams’ Marriage To Susan Delise Has Endured For Over Four Decades
Juan Williams is happily married to his soul mate, Susan Delise. It is not clear how they met or when their relationship commenced, but it is public knowledge that the pair tied the knot in a private ceremony on the 1st of July 1978. Regarding Susan’s career, nothing much is known about her as she seems to prefer staying away from the limelight.
Delise is a strong supporter of her husband, calling NPR Liberals ‘Hypocrites’ following William’s sack from the radio. She recorded a TV appearance on Fox & Friends in 2010 with a recipe on the makings of Maryland Blue Shell Crab Legs. According to Williams, the recipe they shared came from Delise’s late mum, and cooking crab legs has become a family tradition for Mother’s Day. He later told Steve Doocy that he hasn’t “lived” if he’s never tasted Delise’s cherry cheesecake and banana cream pie.
— Juan Williams (@TheJuanWilliams) July 4, 2017
Williams and Delise, who have been together for over four decades, are parents to three children; daughter Rae and sons Antonio and Raphael Williams. They have since become proud grandparents to twin girls; Pepper and Wesley from Antonio and one from Rae.
For a period of one year that spanned from 1996 to 1997, Juan Williams’ older son Antonio, popularly referred to as Tony, served as a Senate page and intern for GOP Senator Strom Thurmond. From 2004 to 2006, he was under the employment of Republican Senator Norm Coleman as his speechwriter and legislative correspondent. Tony lost to Tommy Wells when he ran for a seat on the Council of the District of Columbia.
Fondly called Raffi, William’s younger son is an alum of Haverford College where he studied anthropology. He also played lacrosse at the school. In addition to working for the House Rules Committee, Raffi has served as the communications director for Michigan Republican Dan Benishek’s 2012 congressional campaign which was successful. He also served the Republican National Committee as a deputy press secretary. Currently, Raffi is a press secretary working for Ben Carson – the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
Regan Williams Herald
Unlike her siblings, not much is known about Juan William’s daughter Regan. All that is known is that she is married to a man identified as Patrick Herald. In 2009, Rae appeared alongside her father on NPR on a show called National Day Of Listening: Father-Daughter Talk.