So, the World's Worst Comedian™ and social justice warrior Samantha Bee called Ivanka Trump a “feckless c***” on national television, and then apologized after advertisers began dropping her. Then TBS, her network, apologized as well. Here were their respective apologies:
A few thoughts.
First off, these apologies are faker than a $3 bill. Roseanne Barr’s vile comments were unscripted and off-the-cuff; she’s been making nutty and vile statements for years on venues like Twitter. But Bee’s statements were scripted, taped, and then aired. At no point did anyone on Bee’s staff, including Bee, think that perhaps her comments might have crossed a line. Bee regrets nothing except, perhaps, getting caught. The same holds for TBS.
All of which demonstrates the full-blown stupidity of the apology culture in which we now live. Barr apologized and people ignored it, but there’s a good shot that her apology was more genuine than Bee’s. When Laura Ingraham apologized for the supremely mild sin of calling Parkland survivor David Hogg whiny, the entire Left said her apology was fake. There’s no reason for us to believe Bee’s apology, or TBS’s.
With that said, we must answer three questions. First, should Bee’s show be boycotted? Second, should Bee’s advertisers be boycotted? Third, should Bee be fired pre-emptively?
There’s no moral reason not to boycott Bee’s show. She made this statement on her show. Her staff wrote the show. The network aired the show. If you don’t want to watch Bee’s garbage show, more power to you — although I’d tend to think that those likely to boycott her show over the “c***” comment were already ignoring her show in the first place. Her ratings will likely rise thanks to her supposed audacity.
As far as Bee’s advertisers, secondary boycotts are a nasty tactic. Advertisers shouldn’t become the repository of public anger as a general rule — advertisers are simply looking to put their products before audiences. The only reason to boycott Bee’s advertisers is simply to demonstrate to Bee and her cultural cohorts that the Media Matters boycott tactics they so enjoy can be applied equally against them. Mutually assured destruction suggests that informing advertisers that the sword swings both ways might lead advertisers to simply learn to ignore blowback — which, in the long run, would be a good thing.
Finally, should Bee be pre-emptively fired? Probably not. That’s because Bee says similarly awful things every single night. There was no falsehood in advertising here. Bee is Bee. She’s egregiously unfunny and superfluously degrading. A network should only fire a performer or a star because (1) the product they put on air is different than the product for which they contracted; or (2) the blowback from the audience is so severe as to mandate a cancellation. Neither is true in this case.
And that says something about Bee’s audience. While much of the media claimed that Roseanne’s comments reflected her audience, that’s obviously untrue — if it had, the audience would have rebelled against the cancellation. ABC wouldn’t have had to fear losing ratings, since Roseanne’s fans would have just kept watching. But Roseanne fans likely would have tuned out thanks to Roseanne’s comments.
But when it comes to Bee, TBS doesn’t have to worry about losing ratings in any serious way. Which suggests that Bee’s fans are actually far more deplorable than fans of Roseanne. They’re fine with her comments. Just as Bee was. Just as TBS was.
So before we hear about how all Trump supporters are secret racists who cheered Roseanne Barr’s comments, let’s hear a little bit about what Samantha Bee supporters think of her comments. Let’s see whether they keep watching, or whether they provide her with consequences.