Embattled TBS late-night host Samantha Bee took the stage to accept a Television Academy Honors award Thursday night and defended calling White House advisor Ivanka Trump a “cunt,” lashed out at the Trump administration “treating people legally seeking asylum as criminals,” and thanked her bosses at Turner Broadcasting for having her back.
“You know, the thing is our show is steeped in passion. Every week I strive to show the world as I see it, unfiltered. Sometimes I should probably have a filter. I accept that. I take it seriously when I get it right and I do take responsibility when I get it wrong,” Bee said, according to Indiewire, to a star-studded audience at the event, held at Neuehouse in Hollywood.
“Our piece attracted controversy of the worst kind,” Bee said of the segment about the Trump administration’s immigration and border policies that ended with her calling Ivanka Trump a “feckless cunt” who needed to “do something about [her] dad’s immigration practices.”
“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,” Bee added. “If we are OK with that then really, who are we?”
The Full Frontal host’s pre-taped trash talk against Ivanka Trump was met with swift rebuke from social media to the White House. Two of the weekly show’s advertisers, Autotrader and State Farm, suspended their sponsorship of the show. First Lady Melania Trump excoriated Bee for her remarks and the media for resistance to reprimand those kinds of attacks.
Bee apologized for her remarks late Thursday. TBS applauded Bee’s apology but did little else.
“Samantha Bee has taken the right action in apologizing for the vile and inappropriate language she used about Ivanka Trump last night,” TBS said in a statement. “Those words should not have been aired. It was our mistake too, and we regret it.”
On Thursday night, the 48-year-old comedian was unrepentant.
“I can tell you, as long as we have breath in our bodies and 21 minutes of airtime once a week, repeats on Saturdays, that we as a show will never stop shouting [about] the inhumanities of this world from the rooftops and striving to make it a better place” said Bee. “But in a comedy way.”
Flanked by her writers and producers, Bee praised her staff who had been honor by the Television Academy for covering the Time’s Up and #MeToo movements.
“Our staff poured everything we have into these #MeToo pieces,” Bee said. “They wrote jokes through tears and panic attacks, they pushed each other to be honest and more fearless. I can only imagine what it takes to say these powerful famous, admired men abused me and I won’t be silent. No matter the consequences, Me Too.”
“Leaders of the #MeToo movement are changing the world. And we are honored to stand with you and support you as best we can,” Bee added. “There is power in saying what you feel without apology… OK, and sometimes you also have to apologize.”
Bee concluded her remarks by heaping praise on her Turner Broadcast bosses, saying, “you always have our back and we appreciate that so deeply.”
It is still unclear if Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes will follow the lead of Disney CEO Bob Iger, who called Valerie Jarrett to apologize for a tweet from Roseanne Barr just one day before Bee attacked Ivanka Trump.