Accepting a Television Academy Honors award Thursday night, Samantha Bee acknowledged that she erred on Wednesday’s episode of her TBS show, “Full Frontal,” when she called Ivanka Trump a “feckless c–t.”
But Bee defended her criticism of Ivanka Trump and President Donald Trump, and the work by her “Full Frontal” staff, telling the Academy that they “will never stop shouting [about] the inhumanities of this world from the rooftops and striving to make it a better place. But in a comedy way.”
The speech came at the end of a bitter day for the comedian, whose comments about Ivanka Trump ignited a backlash, with calls for TBS to cancel “Full Frontal,” the departure of at least two sponsors and a contrite apology. There had been speculation that the TV Academy might rescind the award it planned to give her, but the organization said late in the afternoon the event would proceed as planned, though press would not be allowed, nor would it be livestreamed or televised.
Bee’s remarks were published by Indiewire, which received them from a source who attended the event.
“You know, the thing is our show is steeped in passion. Every week I strive to show the world as I see it, unfiltered,” Bee said, as reported by Indiewire. “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.”
Noting the segment on “Full Frontal” Wednesday in which she made her remarks was about “the atrocious treatment of migrant children by this administration and past administrations,” she lamented, “our piece attracted controversy of the worst kind” because of what she said about Ivanka Trump.
“We spent the day wrestling with the repercussions of one bad word,” she said, “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. If we are OK with that then really, who are we?”
“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. But in a comedy way,” Bee continued.
Bee also praised her staff, and their work covering the ongoing #MeToo movement. “We poured everything we have into these #MeToo pieces,” she 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. There is power in saying what you feel without apology… OK, and sometimes you also have to apologize.”
Bee did apologize to Trump on Thursday, calling her comments “inappropriate and inexcusable,” and adding that she “crossed a line, and I deeply regret it.” And on Thursday night she thanked the TV Academy for going through with the ceremony despite the controversy, saying “it actually means so much to accept this with everyone here behind me, these incredible writers and producers.”
Bee also thanked her bosses at TBS parent company Turner Broadcasting for supporting her throughout the firestrom, saying, “You always have our back and we appreciate that so deeply.”