Last week, Samantha Bee issued a “sincere” apology to Ivanka Trump for calling her a “feckless cunt” on TBS’ Full Frontal. Her name has dominated the headlines since, with first Sarah Huckabee Sanders and then President Donald Trump himself calling for her to be fired.
In her first show back Wednesday night, she had no choice but to address the situation.
Before the theme song even played, Bee appeared on screen and spoke directly to viewers.
“You know, a lot of people were offended and angry that I used an epithet to describe the president’s daughter and adviser last week,” Bee began. Noting that it is a word she had “used on the show many times, hoping to reclaim it,” she said that this time she used it “as an insult.”
“I crossed a line and I do apologize for that,” she continued. “The problem is that many women have heard that word at the worst moments of their lives. A lot of women don’t want that word reclaimed, they want it gone and I don’t blame them.”
“I want this show to be challenging and I want it to be honest and I never intended it to hurt anyone, except Ted Cruz,” Bee said, delivering her first joke of the night. “Many men were also offended by my use of the word. I do not care about that.”
Mostly, Bee expressed her regret that the controversy distracted from what she intended the focus on that segment to be: Trump’s new policy that separates immigrant children from their parents. “I should have known that a potty-mouthed insult would be inherently more interesting to them than juvenile immigration policy,” she said of the media.
“Look, if you are worried about the death of civility, don’t sweat it,” she added. “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 that 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.”
Following the intense backlash to Bee’s original comments, it was reported this week that TBS will be taking on a more significant role in overseeing her show’s content. This new approach is in sharp contrast to the attitude the network has taken toward Full Frontal during its first two years on the air. As Bee said recently, “They have been incredibly generous, just keeping themselves separate and letting us create the show. I just can’t imagine a more free, creative landscape.”
“Sorry for breaking America,” the host told viewers after the cold-open apology was over and before jokingly introducing a panel of four censors, who “will be with us from now on.”
“Last week on the show, I talked about how Trump is expanding Obama’s terrible immigration policies and is now ripping all migrant kids apart from their families at the border,” Bee said. “Now, since none of you saw more than four letters of that show, here’s an update.”
From there, Bee proceeded to excoriate Attorney General Jeff Sessions for defending the “horrifically cruel” policy and condemn the administration’s general “lack of compassion.”
“As an American and a parent I am saddened and sickened by this and I am getting so frustrated,” Bee said, begging her censors to “press all the buttons” before she said something else she would regret.
TBS may be trying to avoid another controversy, but so far at least, they are still letting their late-night star speak her mind.