Samantha Bee loses advertisers, draws Trump’s ire over Ivanka remark

"Full Frontal" host Samantha Bee apologized for her vulgar comment about Ivanka Trump, but her show has still lost at least two advertisers. Meanwhile, President Trump has called on TBS to fire Bee.
(Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

“Full Frontal” host Samantha Bee is still facing professional and social repercussions after using profanity to describe White House advisor Ivanka Trump.

The backlash prompted President Trump to weigh in and resulted in advertisers suspending campaigns associated with Bee’s late-night show. In a statement to The Times, Bee called her language “inappropriate and inexcusable.”

Despite Bee issuing a public apology for calling Ivanka Trump the C-word, the president on Friday called on TBS to fire the late-night host “for the horrible language used on her low ratings show.”


Trump seemingly framed his argument around the backlash Roseanne Barr faced this week, describing the situation as “a total double standard,” though many disagree.

On Thursday night, Bee received an award from the Television Academy for her show’s coverage of the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements. Hours before the ceremony, the academy barred press access as a result of the controversy, but IndieWire published portions of Bee’s speech, which addressed the fallout.

“Our show is steeped in passion,” she said. “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.”

Discussing her touchy segment about missing migrant children — the one that also bore the Trump profanity — Bee said the piece “attracted controversy of the worst kind.”

“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,” she added. “If we are OK with that, then really, who are we?”

The host said that as long as she has a show, she is committed to “shouting [about] the inhumanities of this world from the rooftops and striving to make it a better place. But in a comedy way.”

She capped her speech by poking fun at the day’s events: “There is power in saying what you feel without apology… OK, and sometimes you also have to apologize.”

There is power in saying what you feel without apology… OK, and sometimes you also have to apologize.

— Samantha Bee

Ivanka Trump has not publicly entered the fray, but White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders called Bee’s language “vile and vicious,” and also called on TBS to cancel her late-night show.

TBS stood by Bee’s apology, though the Turner-owned cable network declined to comment on calls for cancellation.

“Samantha Bee has taken the right action in apologizing for the vile and inappropriate language she used about Ivanka Trump last night,” the network said in a statement Thursday. “Those words should not have been aired. It was our mistake too, and we regret it.”

By late Thursday, at least two advertisers announced that they will be pulling ads from “Full Frontal.”

On Twitter, Autotrader said Bee’s comments were “offensive and unacceptable” and suspended its sponsorship of the show.

State Farm told CNN Money that it asked TBS to suspend its advertising in the program and will review any future placements.

“We constantly review programs to ensure alignment to our programming guidelines and brand values,” the insurance company said.

Still, many in the entertainment industry had the unfiltered host’s back, applauding the show that advocates for women and skewers conservative policies.

Actress Amber Tamblyn called Bee “a national treasure and one of the only exemplifications women have of anger in this country.” She praised the Emmy-winning host for being cathartic and censured those comparing her situation to that of Barr.

Comedian Kathy Griffin, who went toe to toe with Trump last year over her gruesome fake-beheading pictorial, stood in solidarity with Bee. She said the host didn’t need to apologize and refused to let the president do to Bee what he had done to her.

“This isn’t just Trump expressing his opinion, he’s using his platform as president to order his followers to go after Sam. And he’s keeping the story active,” she tweeted along with a long missive about her experience last year.

Twitter: @NardineSaad