On Friday morning, President Trump called for TBS to fire the comedian Samantha Bee for using a vulgar term to describe his daughter, Ivanka, on the most recent episode of Full Frontal.
“Why aren’t they firing no talent Samantha Bee for the horrible language used on her low ratings show?” Trump wrote on Twitter, calling it a “double standard” that Roseanne Barr’s show was canceled on ABC, but Bee’s show wasn’t.
Why aren’t they firing no talent Samantha Bee for the horrible language used on her low ratings show? A total double standard but that’s O.K., we are Winning, and will be doing so for a long time to come!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 1, 2018
An issue with the president’s stance? Bee used the same expletive a former Inquirer reporter said Trump used to describe her to an editor while complaining about a story in April 1988.
Jennifer Lin wrote about her experience dealing with Trump for Billy Penn during the election. In her piece, she said Trump had called her to complain about a story she had written about his casinos; Trump said she had “s–“ for brains and worked for “a s– newspaper.”
After her discussion with Trump, Lin wrote, he then called her editor at the time, Craig Stock, to complain about the story. Lin said Stock “was treated to the same Trumpian wordplay” she received during her call with one addition: Trump described Lin with the same vulgar remark Bee used.
“It’s the worst word in the English language to refer to a woman,” she later said of the term.
During the election, the Trump campaign denied using the word when talking about Lin, releasing a statement that Lin’s claims were “nothing more than an avowed liberal reporter who is trying to exploit Mr. Trump’s reputation as clickbait for her tabloid stories.”
Lin responded to Trump’s denial during a conversation on CNN with Inquirer columnist Michael Smerconish shortly after her essay was published. She claimed his campaign was attempting to bully and discredit her.
“I have been telling this story for 28 years. My former editor can support my version of the story,” Lin said. “As for being a tabloid journalist, I left the newspaper business [in 2014] to write about a book about Christianity in China. I am not a tabloid journalist.”
For Bee’s part, she apologized for using the vulgar remark, admitting she “crossed a line” while criticizing Ivanka Trump for posting a photo with her son while not speaking out about undocumented families from being separated at the U.S. border.
“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.”
Bee’s apology didn’t stop two advertisers, Autotrader and State Farm, from pulling their commercials from her show.
“We have asked TBS to suspend our advertising in the program and are reviewing any future placements. We constantly review programs to ensure alignment to our programming guidelines and brand values,” State Farm said in a statement.
Critics, such as CNN’s Chris Cilizza, have called out President Trump on his own double standard — criticizing Bee for her vulgar remarks while remaining silent about the racist tweet sent by Barr about former Obama White House adviser Valerie Jarrett.
“Why the different reactions? Simple. Barr is an avowed Trump supporter attacking an Obama administration official. Bee is a high-profile Trump critic attacking Trump’s eldest daughter,” Cillizza wrote.
But as the Washington Post’s Erik Wemple noted, there is also a double standard on the left, pointing to the number of people who doubled down on Bee’s vulgar remarks even as she apologized for making them.
“When she levels the profanity, cheers go up from the audience, from people who would flip out if any cable host deployed the same word against a Democrat. Full Frontal is a must-view program for the resistance to President Trump — and Bee appears to know how to please her fans,” Wemple wrote. “It’s like watching the country lose its decency in real time.”