Comedians don’t often apologize.
But on Wednesday, late-night host Samantha Bee made another mea culpa after calling First Daughter Ivanka Trump a “feckless c–t” during a Full Frontal segment about 1,500 possibly missing migrant children last week. In response, The White House condemned her “vile and vicious” attack, and TBS issued a statement saying the host’s joke “should not have been aired.”
“A lot of people were offended and angry that I used an epithet to describe the President’s daughter and advisor last week. It is a word I have used on the show many times, hoping to reclaim it. This time, I used it as an insult. I crossed the line. I regret it, and I do apologize for that,” Bee said at the top of her show. “The problem is that many women have heard that word at the worst moments of their lives. A lot of them don’t want it reclaimed. They want it gone. And I don’t blame them. I don’t want to inflict more pain on them. I want this show to be challenging and I want it to be honest, but I never intended it to hurt anyone, except Ted Cruz.”
“Many men were also offended by my use of the word. I do not care about that. I hate that this distracted from more important issues. I hate that I did something to contribute to the 24-hour cycles that were all white knuckling through. I should have known that a potty-mouth insult would be inherently more interesting to them than juvenile immigration policy. I would do anything to help those kids. I hate that this distracted from them, so to them, I am also sorry. And look, if you are worried about the death of civility, don’t sweat it. I’m a comedian. People who hone their voices in basement bars while yelling back at drunk hecklers are definitely not paragons of civility. I’m really sorry I said that word,” she said. “But you know what? Civility is just nice words. Maybe we should all worry a little bit more about the niceness of our actions.”
Prior to Bee’s initial apology, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, “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 Time Warner and TBS must demonstrate that such explicit profanity about female members of this administration will not be condoned on its network.” At the Television Critics Honors later in the week, Bee addressed the elephant in the room and again apologized for what she’d said about Trump. “Every week I strive to show the world as I see it unfiltered. Sometimes I should probably have a filter. I accept that,” she said onstage. “I take it seriously when I get it right and I do take responsibility when I get it wrong.”