Samantha Bee opened Wednesday night’s episode of her TBS show, “Full Frontal,” by addressing the firestorm that erupted after last week’s show, in which she referred to Ivanka Trump as "a feckless c---" during a segment on immigration policy.
It was the late-night comedian’s first show since drawing the ire of advertisers, viewers and President Donald Trump -- and she told viewers that her insult directed at the first daughter “crossed a line.”
"It is a word I have used on the show many times, hoping to reclaim it,” Bee said. “This time, I used it as an insult. I crossed a line. I regret it and I do apologize."
The former member of comedian Jon Stewart's "Daily Show" troupe on Comedy Central acknowledged that some women “don’t want that word reclaimed” and she didn’t want “to inflict more pain on them.”
But Bee, 48, mixed in some humor with her apology, saying that while her goal was to produce a “challenging” and “honest” show, “I never intended it to hurt anyone — except Ted Cruz.”
Bee also joked that, “Many men were also offended by my use of the word — I do not care about that.”
Last week’s profane insult sparked outrage from many, leading sponsors like AutoTrader and State Farm to pull their ads from the show. Both Bee and TBS issued apologies the following day, with the network tweeting the “vile” comment was “our mistake too, and we regret it.”
Bee’s words also fired up accusations of a politically based double standard, with critics comparing TBS’s “non-reaction” to the Bee controversy with ABC’s firing of Roseanne Barr from her namesake sitcom over a racist tweet. Barr is well known as a Trump supporter, while Bee, a liberal, has been critical of the administration.
The same day as her apology, Bee received a “social change” honor from the Television Academy. The press was blocked from attending the event’s reception and Bee avoided the red carpet interviews before the event amid the surrounding controversy.
In her reception speech that night, Bee again apologized, acknowledging the “one bad word” she used distracted from the immigration issues she intended to shed light on.
“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 said in her speech, obtained by IndieWire.
The host hit on this issue again in Wednesday’s monologue, ultimately conceding her words “distracted” viewers from the children affected by the administration’s juvenile immigration policy. Bee apologized to the kids, too.
Bee concluded Wednesday night's third apology by giving those who worried about “the death of civility” this past week something to think about.
"I'm really sorry that I said that word, but you know what? Civility is just nice words," she said. "Maybe we should all worry a little bit more about the niceness of our actions."
Even after Bee’s many apologies, TBS -- part of the Turner Broadcasting System conglomerate that includes CNN, TNT and other stations -- will reportedly step up its oversight of the late-night show to prevent further incidents that could scare away advertisers and draw public condemnation, a source close to the matter told the Hollywood Reporter Wednesday.