Samantha Bee
Samantha Bee

Samantha Bee Schools Everyone in the Art of Apology

Samantha Bee’s apology to Ivanka Trump was the first real 'I’m Sorry' I have heard in a while.
June 8, 2018
3 mins read

During the May 30th episode of her talk show “Full Frontal,” Samantha Bee caused a huge uproar when she referred to Ivanka Trump as a “feckless cunt.”

The shocking epithet was used in reference to a photo Trump posted on Twitter of her holding her two-year-old son, Theodore, with the caption “My <3!”

Bee took umbrage with the photo on the grounds that it was insensitive; Trump posted the tweet in the midst of missing children crisis, in which the Department of Health and Human Services lost track of 1,500 migrant children. The missing children crisis is only part of a much larger issue, that of a policy that separates migrant children from their parents at the border and places them with sponsor families.

On that night’s episode of “Full Frontal,” Bee revealed how happy she was that Americans are finally paying attention to the serious issue. On the flip side, however, she was incensed that Trump wasted time posting photos of her posing with her children instead of using her position of power in the White House to enact some kind of change about the immigration policy.

“You know, Ivanka, that’s a beautiful photo of you and your child, but let me just say, one mother to another: Do something about your dad’s immigration practices, you feckless cunt! He listens to you!”

Bee’s explicit insult angered many, including people at the White House who thought the statement was “vile and vicious,” as well as many on the left who argued that the term is a disgusting word that boils women down to just their genitalia. Bee took to Twitter to apologize the day after.

Then, just Wednesday night on “Full Frontal,” Bee went one step further with her apology. She opened the show with a long, heartfelt and sincere apology that contrasts sharply with the false and empty apologies spoken lately by men in power.

Harvey Weinstein’s apology for sexual harassment oddly involved Jay-Z, Donald Trump’s apology for the “grab them by the pussy” comment shifted blame to Bill Clinton, and Louis C.K.’s apology didn’t even mention the words “I’m sorry.”

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The new trend of staged apologies read more as performed excuses than heartfelt, empathic admissions of guilt and renunciation. Thankfully, Bee’s most recent apology breaks that disappointing mold; her “I’m sorry” hit all the points that a good apology should.

For one, she actually says the words “I’m sorry.” She also offers up clear examples of what she is sorry for and empathetically steps into the other person’s shoes to see the negative effect her words caused.

“A lot of people were offended and angry that I used an epithet to describe the president’s daughter and adviser last week. It is a word I have used on the show many times, hoping to reclaim it. This time, I used it as an insult. I crossed the line. I regret it and I do apologize for that.”

Perhaps it took a woman to provide a sincere apology. After all, women tend to apologize more than men because they believe they have more to be sorry for.

Whatever the reason, the whole world (but especially powerful white men in power) should look to Samantha Bee to craft the perfect apology.

Cameron Andersen, New York University

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Cameron Andersen

New York University
Cultural Anthropology and Gender & Sexuality

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