Our current political climate has provided quite a bit of fodder for comedians. Recently, comedian and late night host Samantha Bee took the bait and called out Ivanka Trump's poor behavior while employed in the White House, by calling the first daughter a "feckless c*nt" on television. While many were upset about the language used, fellow comedian Michelle Wolf defended Sam Bee over the Ivanka Trump drama, and I think she's got a point.
During a May 30 episode of her show Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, Bee called Trump out on an insensitive tweet the first daughter sent out earlier that week. The tweet showcased a picture of Trump lovingly holding her son and was captioned, "My <3! #SundayMorning." While there's nothing wrong with the context of the tweet itself, the timing was horrible. It came amidst news that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has lost track of 1,500 migrant children that were placed in the care of sponsors after being taken into government custody, news that itself came on the heels of the Trump administration's announcement of a new policy which would separate undocumented children crossing the southwest border from their families. During the segment on Trump's tone-deaf tweet, Bee called Trump the c-word, an insult that had many people furious. Bee later apologized for what she said, but Wolf doesn't think there was a need to.
During a recent interview with The Daily Beast, Wolf explained that she found a particular issue with how "feckless c*nt" was removed from the context of the segment. She felt that people reading a headline like "Samantha Bee calls Ivana Trump a feckless c*nt" might not know about Trump's poorly-timed tweet or what the actual bit was about. Wolf said,
I would guess that most people don’t even know what joke that was in. They probably just saw the headline: 'Samantha Bee calls Ivanka Trump a feckless c*nt.' They don’t know it was a bit about ICE, and they may not even know that Ivanka posted that picture or really so much about that.
It's clear that people feel that Bee crossed a line by using the c-word, but Wolf thinks Trump is "fair game."
Ivanka is part of the Trump administration. She’s fair game. And she is useless. So I think it’s very fair to point out that she’s doing a terrible job.
The truth is, maybe Bee should have chosen a different word, but Wolf is right in that the context is important. Bee wasn't just randomly calling Trump the c-word. Bee was talking about the fact that children were separated from their families, and Trump's tweet taken in that context was pretty heartless. Trump is a mother (clearly) as well as a public figure, and probably should at the very least have taken the time to express or consider some compassion for the missing children and their families, instead of advertising the fact that her own family is happy and whole.
After Bee's comments, the White House decided to put out a statement on May 31 basically calling for TBS to drop Full Frontal, according to a tweet sent out by The Washington Post reporter Josh Dawsey. Sarah Huckabee Sanders wrote,
The language used by Samantha Bee last night is vile and vicious. The collective silence by the left and its media allies is appalling. Her disgusting comments and show are not fit for broadcast, and executives at Times Warner and TBS must demonstrate that such explicit profanity about female members of this administration will not be condoned on its network.
Regardless of what Wolf thinks, or whether Bee was in the wrong or not, Bee did issue an apology. In a May 31 tweet, the Full Frontal host apologized to the first daughter and said her use of the c-word was "inappropriate and inexcusable." It read,
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.
I can understand why people might have been offended by Bee's use of the c-word. However, Wolf is right — contest is always important. At the very least, Bee should have used a different word so that everyone could have kept focusing on Trump's tweet. Hey, there's still time though.