Sam Bee took the sting out of her message
I’ve read a lot of commentary on Samantha Bee calling Ivanka Trump a “feckless cunt” and most progressive takes are it’s no big deal. Some point out the horrible things her father has said. Kathy Griffin came out with a tweet begging her not to apologize. Sally Field came to her defense. Much of the commentary I can understand but for me, something is missing.
Samantha Bee was wrong for calling Ivanka Trump a “feckless cunt.” I don’t have a problem with tough rhetoric and even derisive words used in a heated political discussion. In a recent Daily Republic column I referred to Roseanne Barr as a “nut job,” which I think is an accurate description for someone who peddles in the conspiracy theories she does. And if Samantha Bee wanted to refer to Ivanka as a “feckless twit” or “cowardly enabler” or some other disparaging remark I wouldn’t have a problem with it.
I’m not bothered by profanity but I am aware of the affect words have on people. But the C word? It’s arguably the most vile word in the English language. Using it in the way she did stepped all over the point Bee was trying to make. Ivanka Trump tweeting warm photos of she and her child while her father is implementing a policy of ripping children away from their undocumented parents on the border is ripe for condemnation. But as soon as you drop the C bomb, we can’t hear anything else. Samantha Bee becomes the story and not Ivanka Trump.
It was also just plain dumb to go there in the aftermath of the Roseanne backlash. The fact that these were scripted remarks coming on the heels of the Roseanne tweet (Bee referenced the tweet in her remarks), she can’t honestly say she didn’t know what the impact of the statement would be. In fact, it seems calculated for media attention. Bee could’ve been trying to regain viewers since her Nielson ratings are down 29% from last year, and 34% in the 18-49 demographic advertisers love.
Should TBS cancel her show and is it a double standard if they don’t? I’m not a big fan of people automatically losing their job when they make a stupid remark. One can argue that Roseanne had priors that rendered her last tweet the final straw. But whether a company fires an employee for a remark is up to that company. If Samantha Bee’s show was on ABC and they didn’t cancel her show, I think a double standard argument would be on more solid ground. But Bee doesn’t bring a history of hate speech with her like Barr did.
Bee apologized in the wake of the backlash and at least two sponsors suspending ads from the show. I’m not a fan of her apology because I’m not a fan of insincere apologies. I’m no fan of forced apologies. Bee said, “I would like to sincerely apologize to Ivanka Trump and to my viewers for using an expletive on my show to describe her last night. It was inappropriate and inexcusable. I crossed a line, and I deeply regret it.”
Does anyone believe that? She couldn’t know that it would be inappropriate or cross a line before she did it? Wasn’t it the point that the language would be so shocking that it would command attention?
I would rather she just own it and accept the blow-back. We loathe Donald Trump because he never apologizes. But if he did apologize, we know it wouldn’t be sincere. So why do so many demand it? Who would that insincere apology placate?
I wish Samantha Bee had torn into Ivanka over her clueless photo and her impotent influence over her father without invoking the C word. Ivanka Trump is a target-rich environment. She has questionable business practices, accusations of improper influence, conflicts of interest, and she holds herself out to be a voice for women but there’s no evidence to support that claim. She’s a feckless twit. She’s an empty skirt. And Bee could’ve skewered her in a way that kept the focus on Ivanka and not given critics a ready-made ticket to Whataboutism-land.
And in the aftermath of making the remark, if it’s what she truly believed, she should stand by it and accept whatever comes her way. Her apology satisfies no one because it’s self-serving and under duress.
I want comedians, critics and political opponents to attack this administration. I want them to go for the kill with this administration. There’s so much to attack. But there’s a difference between going for a kill and committing a murder suicide.