Jess’s Take: A History of Celebrity Backlashes and Controversies, Part 2

Welcome to a new installment of Jess's Take. Since the first article in the Celebrity Backlashes and Controversies series has gotten good responses, I have decided to make a part 2. Please note that this is an editorial and is not intended to reflect the views of TVRG readership.

The Roseanne controversy has definitely opened up a can of worms, noting a perpetual double standard on what is acceptable public behavior and the toxic display of vulgarity on both sides of the political spectrum. As we have learned, there are consequences to offensive and vulgar actions but the consequences themselves are not always proportionate to the offenses. We're increasingly hyper-aware in 2018 of every offensive action a person commits only to counteract with offensive actions on the other side of the political persuasion. As long as this phenomena continues, we're not going to be able to find a collective approach with what's acceptable in the entertainment and political culture.

Once again, we have a list of celebrities that have stuck their foot in their mouths entirely, and here's an ever-growing list.

1. Samantha Bee
Samantha Bee joins an ever-growing list of celebrities dealing with controversy as she called Ivanka Trump a "feckless c**t" live on air on Wednesday's episode of Full Frontal with Samantha Bee. Controversy ensues, Bee apologizes in a statement: "I would like to sincerely apologize to Ivanka Trump and to my viewers for using an expletive on my show to describe her last night. It was inappropriate and inexcusable. I crossed a line, and I deeply regret it."

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

The backlash has continued as of today's writing, and advertisers are pulling out ads from her show. Please note that Bee still has her job as of today's writing and TBS has yet to make a decision on the future of her show. 

2. Bill Maher (continued)
I've written about Bill Maher in the previous installment while researching other scandals. This one may take the cake compared to the n-word backlash. During the September 17, 2001 episode of Politically Incorrect, during a roundtable discussion with Dinesh D'Souza as one of the guests, Maher agrees with D'Souza's dispute on Bush's designation of the terrorists responsible for 9/11 as cowards (D'Souza called them warriors) and quips: "We have been the cowards, lobbing cruise missiles from 2,000 miles away. That's cowardly. Staying in the airplane when it hits the building, say what you want about it, it's not cowardly." 

Not surprisingly, some ABC affiliates pulled the show from the schedule temporarily. Former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer denounced Maher, quoting that "people have to watch what they say and watch what they do." Maher released a statement after the controversy: 

"In no way was I intending to say, nor have I ever thought, that the men and women who defend our nation in uniform are anything but courageous and valiant, and I offer my apologies to anyone who took it wrong. My criticism was meant for politicians who, fearing public reaction, have not allowed our military to do the job they are obviously ready, willing and able to do, and who now will, I'm certain, as they always have, get it done." 

The following June, ABC canceled Politically Incorrect due to many months of declining ratings and lack of advertiser interest. This may not be the first time ABC canceled a show after controversy (see Roseanne), but this was under a different Disney/ABC administration. 

3. Gilbert Gottfried
Back in 2011, comedian Gilbert Gottfried posted wildly inappropriate tweets in response to the Japanese earthquake and ensuing tsunami. Instead of drawing laughs, it costed him his job as the AFLAC duck. 

"Gilbert’s recent comments about the crisis in Japan were lacking in humor and certainly do not represent the thoughts and feelings of anyone at Aflac," the company said in a statement. "There is no place for anything but compassion and concern during these difficult times." 

Gottfried apologized in a statement: "I sincerely apologize to anyone who was offended by my attempt at humor regarding the tragedy in Japan. I meant no disrespect, and my thoughts are with the victims and their families." 

As a shock comedian, one of the lines he should have not crossed was joking about tragedy. 

4. Charlie Sheen
Charlie Sheen made headlines in 2011 when he made derogatory comments about Two and a Half Men creator and executive producer Chuck Lorre in interviews with Alex Jones and TMZ. As a result, CBS and Warner Bros. canceled filming for the rest of season 8 and terminated his contract in March. Sheen then sued Lorre and Warner Bros. Television for $100 million. This was after Sheen went to rehab and then came up with the catchphrase "Winning!". Sheen was replaced by Ashton Kutcher, and Two and a Half Men ran for four more seasons. 

For the most part, Sheen did not bounce back from the Two and a Half Men controversy aside from Anger Management, the 10-90 series that ran for two seasons on FX. 

Since this is a growing list of celebrities saying and doing outrageous things, let's remind the readers that any action morally reprehensible should be held accountable. Let's direct our attention to the comment section if we should discuss any more scandals. 

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