Skip to main content

Jon Stewart Warns Samantha Bee Not to Play Into the Right’s Moral Double Standard With Apologies

Jon Stewart shows appreciation for the troops

I’ll admit, when I saw that Samantha Bee took to Twitter to apologize “for using an expletive on my show to describe [Ivanka Trump],” I was a bit disappointed. I mean, I get it. There was likely pressure from her network, and a woman’s gotta keep her show going. Still, I was disappointed that TBS couldn’t stand behind their most incisive voice. During a recent appearance, Jon Stewart had some advice, one political comedian to another, about how to handle stuff like this in the future.

During an appearance at San Francisco’s Clusterfest this weekend, Stewart discussed the recent manufactured brouhaha surrounding Samantha Bee calling Ivanka Trump a “feckless cunt,” for which Bee eventually apologized on Twitter. Stewart, Bee supporter and former colleague over at The Daily Show, warned her against apologizing for things like this, saying that it plays into the Right’s moral double standard.

“Please understand that a lot of what the right does,” Stewart explained. “And it’s maybe their greatest genius, is they’ve created a code of conduct that they police, that they themselves don’t have to, in any way, abide.”

Stewart continued:

“Don’t get caught in a trap of thinking you can live up to a code of integrity that will be enough for the propagandist right. There isn’t. And so, create your own moral code to live by, but don’t be fooled into trying to make concessions that you think will mollify them.”

He talked about how, when he was hosting The Daily Show, he was called a “tool of the Obama presidency” for visiting the White House twice in Obama’s two terms. Meanwhile, Trump met with the head of Fox News for weekly strategy sessions and counts much of their on-air talent as his advisers. Trump a puppet of Fox News and the Conservative machine? Nah.

At least Stewart was able to find some hopefulness in a system where this game is played. Since leaving The Daily Show, Stewart has continued to perform, do appearances, and has met with people in “very conservative communities.”

Despite her Twitter apology, Bee later clarified that the thing she was truly sorry for was that the “controversy” over her word choice overshadowed the very real problem of the way our country is treating migrant children. Apologies like this are great. But apologies toward people making a show of disingenuous (and hypocritical) outrage over word choice while ignoring the actual message of what’s being said remain, an unnecessary waste of time.

Because they actually don’t care about an apology. All they want is the distraction.

(via Vulture, image: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on / CC BY)

Want more stories like this? Become a subscriber and support the site!

The Mary Sue has a strict comment policy that forbids, but is not limited to, personal insults toward anyone, hate speech, and trolling.—

Have a tip we should know? [email protected]

Filed Under:

Follow The Mary Sue:

Teresa Jusino (she/her) is a native New Yorker and a proud Puerto Rican, Jewish, bisexual woman with ADHD. She's been writing professionally since 2010 and was a former Mary Sue assistant editor from 2015-18. Teresa's returned to play in the TMS sandbox as a freelancer. When not writing about pop culture, she's writing screenplays and is the creator of your future favorite genre show. Teresa lives in L.A. with her brilliant wife. Her other great loves include: Star Trek, The Last of Us, anything by Brian K. Vaughan, and her Level 5 android Paladin named Lal.