On last night’s episode of Full Frontal With Samantha Bee, during a segment about ICE’s policy of separating children from their parents — even when people legally seek asylum — Bee called out Ivanka Trump for posting a tone-deaf tweet in which she’s seen embracing her son. Samantha Bee said, “One mother to another, do something about your dad’s immigration practices, you feckless c*nt!” Though Bee has since apologized (and the entire episode has been taken down from the official Full Frontal YouTube channel), conservatives are still calling for blood, comparing Bee to Roseanne Barr.
First, let’s clarify; “c*nt” is a misogynistic insult that, particularly in the United States, carries a lot of weight. Should misogynistic slurs ever be used? That’s another debate entirely, but we’ve been working to elide words like “c*nt” and “bitch” from our vocabulary. There are better, non-gendered words to use, even in terms of expletives. (And we know that Bee’s got a way with innovative uses of “fuck.”)
But we also want to point out that it’s different when a woman calls another woman a “c*nt.” It can be used as a “nuclear option” word, when you need a word that is possibly the worst possible thing you can call someone. And given the brutality of the Trump Administration’s policies as well as the callousness with which they respond, we totally understand why Bee would opt for the nuclear option.
Still, today, Bee apologized, writing in a statement, “I would like to sincerely apologize to Ivanka Trump and to my viewers for using an expletive on my show to describe her last night. It was inappropriate and inexcusable. I crossed a line, and I deeply regret it.”
I would like to sincerely apologize to Ivanka Trump and to my viewers for using an expletive on my show to describe her last night. It was inappropriate and inexcusable. I crossed a line, and I deeply regret it.
— Samantha Bee (@iamsambee) May 31, 2018
Whether or not you agree with Samantha Bee’s usage of the phrase “feckless c*nt,” or whether Ivanka was the best target of the word, claims from the White House and conservatives that this is the same thing as Roseanne Barr tweeting out racist nonsense are ridiculous.
In fact, the White House calling for TBS to cancel Full Frontal today are particularly galling, considering that Donald Trump just pardoned Dinesh D’Souza, a right-wing pundit convicted of making illegal campaign contributions, a felony. (Trump also said he was considering pardoning Gov. Rod Blagojevich, the Illinois senator who attempted to sell Obama’s Senate seat, who was sentenced to 14 years in prison on 18 corruption charges.)
Still, let’s look at the difference between the two. Foremost, Ivanka Trump is a political figure; she’s not just the president’s daughter but Senior Advisor to the President. Bee insulted her for inaction on a specific topic: Immigration.
On the other hand, Barr’s tweets regarding Valerie Jarrett (also a Senior Advisor to the President, only during the Obama administration), wasn’t in response to anything. Barr replied to a vague tweet about “Obama’s secrets,” writing “muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby = vj.” Barr’s tweet invokes a long history of comparing black people to apes. (Barr later said this wasn’t her intent, as she believed Jarrett was “Jewish and Persian.”)
On one hand, we have a current political figure being called out for inaction. On the other, we have a former political figure being called out for her appearance. Many people on Twitter weighed in on the false equivalency, though our favorite response came from Sally Field:
Watch Samantha Bee call Ivanka Trump a “feckless c*nt” below:
Samantha Bee to @IvankaTrump on Full Frontal tonight:
"Let me just say, one mother to another, do something about your dad’s immigration practices you feckless cunt!” pic.twitter.com/S8BhRYNYxD
— Jon Levine (@LevineJonathan) May 31, 2018