Stephen Colbert has done it now. He has triggered an army of Donald Trump supporters outraged by one of the late night comic’s jokes about their beloved leader. In fact, these Trump snowflakes are in such a tizzy over Colbert’s politically incorrect joke they now want to silence Colbert by demanding he be fired.
This controversy exploded late Tuesday when Breitbart.com, in between articles demonizing immigrants and Muslims, published an article to whine about Colbert’s joke that sent Trumpers looking for a safe space. So what was this horrific joke that mandates Colbert be silenced in the eyes of Trumpers?
Well it was part of a block of jokes where Colbert quipped: “Sir, you attract more skinheads than free Rogaine. You have more people marching against you than cancer. You talk like a sign-language gorilla that got hit in the head.” And then the line that cause Trumpers to freak out: “In fact, the only thing your mouth is good for is being Vladimir Putin’s cock holster.”
And cue the outrage. Come Tuesday night the number one topic trending on Twitter was #FireColbert. And the tweets there offered up the biggest display of hypocrisy since the last time Trump opened up his mouth.
This Colbert joke was the bridge too far for Trumpers. Sure, they were on board when during the campaign Trump mocked a disabled reporter. And when Trump demonized Mexican immigrants as “rapists” and stoked hate versus Muslims by saying “Islam hates us.” Many of them defended Trump’s bragging about grabbing women by the genitals as “locker room talk.” And Trumpers literally cheered at his campaign rally in October when he called the courageous women who came forward to report that Trump had sexually assaulted them “horrible liars”.
But Colbert’s joke was the thing that upset their delicate sensibilities. So Trumpers took to twitter to call for Colbert to be silenced. There was @RedPillDropper who brags about not being “politically correct” in between tweets about #Whitegenocide and why can’t the person be openly anti-Semitic. This person’s tweet read: “We have to do to Colbert what the left did to O'Reilly watch + #FireColbert now heres a list of all CBS advertisers...”
And then there was “Hispanics for Trump” with the tweet, “O'Reilly lost his job at Fox News over accusations and @CBS allows Stephen Colbert to continue after his remarks? Unbelievable! #FireColbert” (That tweet had nearly 750 likes as of the writing of this article.)
In fact, equating Colbert’s one joke with Bill O’Reilly’s years of sexually harassing women was a common point made by Trump supporters. That truly says so much about the mindset of some on the right. (And just to be clear, Bill O’Reilly was fired for allegations of sexually harassing women, not for his political views.)
Then there were the Trump supporters who claimed Colbert’s joke was “homophobic” and they wanted us to believe they were outraged because they so care about the LGBT community. For example, this gem from @rottenronnie: “if @billoreilly was let go for accusations then @StephenAtHome should be fired for his homophobic statements!”
You see, the very same Trump supporters who were ecstatic that come Thursday, Trump was expected to sign an executive order on “religious liberty” that will allow them to discriminate against the LGBT community, now suddenly cares about that community. Hard to believe when Trump opposes marriage equality and his VP Mike Pence has a long history of stoking hate versus the LGBT community, despicably even opposing laws that would prohibit discrimination against gays in the workplace.
Fox News’ Britt Hume even chimed in on the Colbert joke, which takes guts considering my review of his Twitter feed found zero tweets from him denouncing Bill O’Reilly for sexual harassment. Instead he had retweeted a defense of O’Reilly a few weeks ago: “Look at coordinated campaign. Outrage when useful, silence when not (e.g. Clinton). Bill O'Reilly out at Fox News.”
But Tuesday night Hume was up in arms over Colbert, tweeting, “Will there be consequences for Stephen Colbert's obscene attack on the president last night, or even any comment from CBS?” And a short time later the Fox News anchor tweeted that Rosie O’Donnell was a “sewermouth” for her defense of Colbert’s joke. Nothing like defending Trump by calling women names because you don’t like what they say. Trump will be so proud of Hume.
Of course, all of this comes in the shadow of the Ann Coulter controversy her speaking at UC Berkley. As a progressive, I publicly defended on CNN Coulter’s right to speak at that school. I have even defended the right of the Klan and anti-Muslim bigots to spew their hate. That is what freedom of speech is about.
And those who truly view Colbert’s joke as offensive they have every right to express their views. There were some progressives who did view the joke as homophobic—although other members of the LGBT community made it clear they disagreed. But none on the left I have seen have called for Colbert to be fired. The answer to speech you don’t like is more speech, not silencing views we disagree with. I have long criticized Bill Maher’s views on Muslims but I have never called for him to be fired.
But deep down we know that Trump wants to silence critics, be they in the media, with his claims that they are “fake news,” or even comedy shows, as we saw in October when he called for Saturday Night Live to be cancelled for mocking of him. And just this week we learned from Trump’s chief of staff that they had discussed changing the libel laws to make it easier to sue media outlets that are critical of Trump. Clearly Trump’s goal, consistent with the dictator he truly aspires to be, is to silence his critics.
Now I fear that an increasing number of Trump’s fans are infected with Trump’s views that those who criticize Trump should be silenced. And as opposed to Colbert’s monologue, this is not a joke.