On the first anniversary of President Trump’s election win, late-night comedian Samantha Bee introduced a guest on her show as the “hope on the horizon, a hero who’s stood up to democracy’s nemesis before.”
“Look up in the sky,” she said on her TBS weekly show, “Full Frontal,” last November. “It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s …”
The shot jumped to New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who had built a reputation as a progressive advocate for women and a relentless opponent to Trump.
“Are you going to lead us out of the darkness?” Bee asked him in a dimly lit room. He touted the efforts of several state attorneys general who hoped to be the “first line of defense” against Trump. “We have that power now,” he said. “And with great power comes great responsibility,” he continued, quoting a “Spider-Man” line.
With Bee’s face in awe, a voice-over led into a rendition of the 1960s “Spider-Man” theme song, depicting the attorney general as a comic-book superhero. “Schneider-man, Schneider-man, does whatever a Schneider can,” the tune went. “Only he can save us all.”
On Saturday, Schneiderman tweeted those same superhero comics from the official attorney general Twitter account. Two days later, in a dramatic and swift fall from grace, Schneiderman stepped down as attorney general, just hours after being accused in a New Yorker article of slapping and choking four women.
Schneiderman denied the allegations, saying he engaged in “role-playing” in relationships but never assaulted anyone or engaged in nonconsensual sex.
Bee, a fierce feminist, was livid over the allegations. She demanded that Schneiderman take down her show’s comics from his Twitter account. (They still appear under the official New York attorney general Twitter account, now held by acting attorney general Barbara Underwood.)
But, as Bee fired back at one critic, alt-right activist Jack Posobiec, “you probably know we’ll be discussing this on Wednesday.”
So on Wednesday night, Bee let out the rage. With a lot of f-bombs.
“Schneiderman was a guest on my show, so this is a little complicated for me to talk about,” she said. “Just kidding, it’s not complicated.” She repeatedly cursed at Schneiderman, saying that the “good legal work that you did for women does not absolve you.”
It would not give her “a second’s pause,” she said, about ripping him apart on television.
“This is especially infuriating given his supposed woke bae-ness,” she said. “Schneiderman positioned himself as a feminist crusader, he championed the #MeToo Movement … he helped craft an anti-choking law even though he’s now accused of choking his girlfriends.”
“Eric Schneiderman, you are trash, and we do not need you,” she said.
On YouTube, “Full Frontal” changed the title of the recording of her November show depicting Schneiderman as a superhero. The new title is “Former AG Tricks Sam Into Thinking He Was Decent.” The show apologized for “characterizing him as a hero when, to so many women, he was the vilest villain.”
“We’re keeping this piece online in the interest of integrity,” the show wrote. “We encourage you to make a donation to an anti-domestic violence organization like the Battered Women’s Justice Project.” And if you’re a “disgrace,” the YouTube post continued, “please consider not coming on our show.”
In her monologue Wednesday night, Bee went on to remind viewers of the slew of other powerful men ousted by the #MeToo movement, or as she called it, “kind of holding a very limited number of men sort of accountable for sexual harassment and assault a little bit.”
These powerful “weasels” are “starting to sniff around to see if it’s safe to come up out of their holes,” she said. She mentioned reports that Garrison Keillor wants to bring back his radio show online (“good luck trying to get WiFi in the bell tower!”) and that film mogul Harvey Weinstein wants to make a documentary about himself. (“He hasn’t found a director yet. Amazing, considering that even Rachel Dolezal found someone to make a documentary about her.”)
But, she said, the award for “most entitled of all abusers certainly goes to Charlie — there’s no way journalism can happen without me — Rose,” referring to the former CBS television host. She mentioned The Washington Post’s investigation finding that Rose’s misconduct was widespread at CBS and three managers were warned. Since the first accusations of sexual misconduct emerged, an additional 27 women said Rose sexually harassed them, The Post reported.
“Turns out the CBS news logo is just an eye that shuts whenever a woman asks for help,” Bee said.
Before seeking a comeback, Bee suggested to the accused “fellas”: “Ask yourself, have all the women I’ve nonconsensually shown my penis to come forward in the press? If the answer is no, go away. If the answer is yes, also go away.”
“No one should be wearing a robe at work,” she said, in reference to Charlie Rose, who was accused of wearing only a bathrobe in front of a prospective employee at his home.
“You and I basically do the same job,” Bee said, “and at no point have I ever woken up in the morning and thought, you know what I should wear in front of my employees today? A whisper of a garment that a gentle breeze could render irrelevant. Wearing clothes at work is the invisible contract we sign when we enter polite … society as adults.”
She recounted the time when she appeared on Rose’s show and he allegedly kissed her “square on the lips with just a hint of tongue, like a turtle softly eating an apple core.”
She told accused men they have “not yet done anything to earn our forgiveness. So take your millions of dollars and pay a therapist to care about how tough it’s been to get caught being an abuser.”
“And as for men like Eric Schneiderman, we really don’t need them,” she said. “You know who’s a better advocate for women? Women.”
She listed some of the many women who won primary races across the country Tuesday night. Among them was Rachel Crooks, who publicly accused President Trump of sexual assault and won an uncontested primary for a seat in the Ohio state House of Representatives.
“The future is female,” she said, “or at least it better be, because I am done with this.”
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