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Samantha Bee Will Get Heightened (and Patronizing) Oversight From TBS After That “Feckless C**t” Uproar

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A week after Samantha Bee called Ivanka Trump a “feckless c**t” on Full Frontal, TBS has announced that they will provide heightened oversight for the show to make sure no human adult could ever again get offended by the bad woman and her dirty words.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the network will now “have more scrutiny over Bee’s show.”

This comes after Bee apologized for using the c-word, which she did nearly immediately after the outrage began, and people started falsely comparing Bee and Roseanne Barr, despite the fact that one was making a plea to an advisor to the president and the other was hurling racist personal insults.

Now, THR writes, “The plan is for management to work with the show to prevent another incident that could potentially scare advertisers and draw condemnation from both sides of the political aisle. (TBS declined to comment on the record.)”

“The network had previously given Bee essentially full creative license, with a source close to the company saying that management has supported her artistic vision of the show.”

I get that networks have a fear of boycotts, but giving Samantha Bee a babysitter is not just totally patronizing, it’s also dangerous given that Donald Trump was one of the people encouraging TBS to fire her. It’s not a violation of Bee’s First Amendment rights for TBS to cancel her show or give her notes. That gets murkier, though, when the president is calling for them to do so. Because Trump doesn’t care about the use of the c-word. He’s said far worse. He’s mad that he and Ivanka were attacked, and he’s mad that Roseanne was cancelled while liberals can still exist in the false equivalency of Saying Bad Words.

Because, ostensibly, the anger here was over Bee’s use of a specific word, but that seems to be more of a moral red herring than anything else. Rather, it looks like another instance of the right feigning a concern for women, just as they did with Michelle Wolf’s comments about Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ makeup habitual lying at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. By focusing on the perceived impropriety, their pearl-clutching manages to overshadow the actual issue at hand. They turned that Michelle Wolf conversation from Sanders’ lies to a nonexistent attack on her appearance, and they’ve rerouted Bee’s narrative from Ivanka Trump’s eternal fecklessness (which, interestingly, no one appears to be disputing) to the slur used to describe her.

As Bee herself said, “We spent the day wrestling with the repercussions of one bad word, when we all should have spent the day incensed that as a nation we are wrenching children from their parents and treating people legally seeking asylum as criminals.” Because the outraged right sure does know how to twist a narrative.

So with this new oversight TBS is implementing, what do we think they’re going to be monitoring for? Specific words that may cross some arbitrary line? Or the larger messages that risk offending Trump and his supporters? If TBS is worried about alienating the right and they’re willing to censor Samantha Bee over it, what is even going to be left of her show?

(image: Charley Gallay/Getty Images for TBS/Turner)

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Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.