One week after causing controversy for calling first daughter Ivanka Trump the C-word, TV host and comedian Samantha Bee issued an on-air apology during her TBS show, Full Frontal.
“A lot of people were offended and angry that I used an epithet to describe the president’s daughter and adviser last week,” she said. “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, however, also flipped the tables on her apology. Last week’s C-word comment came at the end of a longer piece regarding the current U.S. policy of separating children from their families at the Mexican border. Bee expressed remorse that the story of those children had been lost in the controversy she created. The host finished by telling her audience that they should worry more about actions than about words.
“I should have known that a potty-mouthed insult would be inherently more interesting ... 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 am — I’m really sorry I said that word, but you know what? Civility is just nice words. Maybe we should all worry a little bit more about the niceness of our actions.”
Today’s Megyn Kelly, who was one of the first to publicly reprimand Bee for her comment last week, took offense to Bee’s apology.
“Apologies that are quickly followed by the word ‘but’ are always problematic,” Kelly said on Today. “It was more than uncivil, in my view. That term is more than just vulgar; it’s deeply, deeply offensive to a lot of women.”
Kelly also slammed Bee for using her comedian job title as an “excuse.”
“Being a comedian doesn’t excuse everyone’s comments. I don’t find ‘I’m a comedian’ an adequate excuse. I understand, you want to go to the comedy cellar and make those jokes onstage — go for it. Comedians get paid to be completely irreverent in that setting. But once you’re given a television show — whether you’re Jon Stewart or you’re Samantha Bee or you’re Roseanne [Barr] — like it or not, you’re held to a higher standard.”