News / TV

Samantha Bee and the art of the apology

Most of the official videos from this week’s Full Frontal with Samantha Bee have been scrubbed from the TBS talker’s official YouTube page.

There is still this promo tease. Roll it!

Bee devoted part of her segment on ICE forcefully separating thousands of children from their parents at the U.S. border, then somehow losing track of where some 1,500 of those kids now are, and juxtaposing it with Ivanka Trump’s tone-deaf (yet purposeful) picture posing with her own child.

If you’re going to promise to keep your father or your husband in line (hi Ivanka and Melania!) by protecting women and children, by putting a stop to bullying, and then do nothing. Well, do nothing about that, but also take advantage of your political power to enrich yourself personally (thank you China for the Ivanka business trademarks!), then what does that make you, exactly?

Ivanka Trump liked to confuse herself by pretending not to know in a TV interview what it meant for her to be complicit in her family’s crimes against country and nature.

So yeah, Samantha Bee called Ivanka out as a “feckless cunt.”

And TBS aired it.

That triggered an immediate backlash from Trump supporters, still steaming about ABC cancelling Roseanne after Roseanne Barr posting one too many racist Tweets (How many is too many? One. One is one too many.) and trying as hard as they could to equate the two things. Herr Presidente  Fast And The Fuhrer was chief among them.

Nothing like using the bully pulpit not only to bully, but also do so against the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. But who says Trump ever read the laws, or followed them.

Anyhow, Bee already apologized yesterday, both online and onstage. First, the online amends.

Then Bee received TV Academy honors last night in Hollywood, and although the ceremony tried to bar press from getting in to make an even messier mess of it, Bee’s words got out to the public.

She further reflected on what she said on Wednesday night’s show.

“Sometimes I should probably have a filter. I accept that. I take it seriously when I get it right and I do take responsibility when I get it wrong. Stories about 1,500 missing unaccompanied migrant children flooded the news cycle over the weekend. So last night we aired a segment on the atrocious treatment of migrant children by this administration and past administrations…Our piece attracted controversy of the worst kind.”

“We spent the day wrestling with the repercussions of one bad word, when we all should have spent the day incensed that as a nation we are wrenching children from their parents and treating people legally seeking asylum as criminals. If we are okay with that then really, who are we?”

Bee also vowed to keep “shouting [about] the inhumanities of this world from the rooftops and striving to make it a better place. But in a comedy way.”

Should a good satirist ever have to apologize, though?

I suppose so long as you don’t have to answer the question posed in Bee’s promo video — How did you make this worse? — then you’ll never have to.

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

View all posts by Sean L. McCarthy →