Comedian blasted for ‘disgusting’ jokes
IT WAS the speech that drew gasps, polarised commentators and infuriated both the Trump administration and members of the press.
US comedian Michelle Wolf has been slammed over a roast of a monologue she delivered at a prestigious media dinner in Washington, while standing just metres away from Sarah Huckabee Sanders during the 2018 White House Correspondents' Dinner.
While she received some laughter for her candid roasting of the Press Secretary - which included references to her make-up, Ann Coulter and The Handmaid's Tale - a number of high-profile commentators have said she went too far.
The New York Times' White House correspondent Maggie Haberman, TV news presenter Mika Brzezinski and former press secretary Sean Spicer were among those who slammed the controversial speech.
That @PressSec sat and absorbed intense criticism of her physical appearance, her job performance, and so forth, instead of walking out, on national television, was impressive.— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) 29 April 2018
Mr Spicer told The Guardian it was "absolutely disgusting" and "way over the line".
"There's a lot of people on that dais from the media that need to answer for that," he said. "The White House Correspondents' Association needs to answer for that. That was disgusting. The idea that viewers at home listened to that. I think they have a very distorted view for what the first amendment's all about. There are a lot of reporters on that dais that brought her here that should answer for that."
Former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci said the White House Correspondents' Association's (WHCA) president owed Ms Sanders an apology.
"It would have been very nice if (Sanders) was given an apology, given what happened," he said on CNN.
He also said he was happy Mr Trump did not attend, saying the President might have walked out too.
"That would have been even more devastating to the tension that is going on between the White House and the press."
Mr Trump addressed the speech on Twitter, saying the comedian really "bombed".
While Washington, Michigan, was a big success, Washington, D.C., just didn’t work. Everyone is talking about the fact that the White House Correspondents Dinner was a very big, boring bust...the so-called comedian really “bombed.” @greggutfeld should host next year! @PeteHegseth— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 29 April 2018
Washington-based comedian Tim Young suggested mockery of Mr Trump would only fuel support for him in the next election.
But a number of other commentators believed the roast was fair game.
I sae all the jokes Michelle Wolf made about Sarah Huckabee Sanders. You guys...really? You're offended for Sarah? Are you kidding me? It was 90 seconds. And Wolff held back. They were solid, cutting jokes. Sarah can dish it, so she should be able to take it. For 90 seconds.— Wajahat Ali (@WajahatAli) 29 April 2018
Actor Kumail Nanjiani defended Wolf, saying she was merely calling out the Trump administration on its history of racist and discriminatory remarks.
Others noted the President's history with claims of sexual assault.
Wolf defended herself on Twitter, claiming she was "complimenting" the Press Secretary's makeup and "ingenuity of materials".
Why are you guys making this about Sarah’s looks? I said she burns facts and uses the ash to create a *perfect* smoky eye. I complimented her eye makeup and her ingenuity of materials. https://t.co/slII9TYdYx— Michelle Wolf (@michelleisawolf) 29 April 2018
During the 85-second roast, Ms Huckabee Sanders was repeatedly branded a liar and was likened to Aunt Lydia from The Handmaid's Tale - a character who indoctrinates women with the beliefs of the new society and forces them to accept their fates.
"And of course we have Sarah Huckabee Sanders. We are graced with her presence. I love you as Aunt Lydia in The Handmaid's Tale - Mike Pence if you haven't seen it you'd love it," Wolf began.
"Every time Sarah steps up to the podium I get excited because I'm not sure what we're going to get, a press briefing, a bunch of lies or divided into softball teams. It's shirts and skin and this time don't be such a little b**ch Jim Acosta.
"I really, really like Sarah. I think she's very resourceful. Like, she burns facts and then she uses that ash to create a perfect smoky eye. Like, maybe she's born with it, maybe it's lies. It's probably lies."
Ms Wolf labelled Ms Huckabee Sanders an "Uncle Tom" - a derogatory term for a subservient person based on the character from the novel Uncle Tom's Cabin.
She also likened the press secretary to conservative social and political commentator Ann Coulter.
"And I'm never really sure what to call Sarah Huckabee Sanders," she continued.
"You know, is it Sarah Sanders, is it Sarah Huckabee Sanders? Is it Cousin Huckabee, is it Auntie Huckabee Sanders?
"What's Uncle Tom for white women who disappoint other white women? Oh I know, it's Ann Coulter."
She also lashed out at Mr Trump with a series of sexual references.
On his absence, she referred to his infamous "grab 'em by the pussy" quote and said: "I would drag him here myself, but it turns out that the President of the United States is the one pussy you're not allowed to grab. He said it first. Yeah, he did. You remember? Good.
"Like a porn star says when she's about to have sex with a Trump, let's get this over with," she said, referring to the Stormy Daniels case. "It's 2018 and I am a woman so you cannot shut me up. Unless you have Michael Cohen wire me $130,000." Mr Cohen is Mr Trump's lawyer.
His daughter Ivanka also came into her line of fire.
"She was supposed to be an advocate for women, but it turns out she's about as helpful to women as an empty box of tampons. She's done nothing to satisfy women. So I guess, like father like daughter."
The audience could be heard mumbling uncomfortably, to which she added: "Oh, you don't think he's good in bed. Come on!
"She does clean up nice, though. Ivanka cleans up nice. She's the diaper genie of the administration. On the outside she looks sleek, but the inside, it's still full of s**t."
- With Alexis Carey
Watching a wife and mother be humiliated on national television for her looks is deplorable. I have experienced insults about my appearance from the president. All women have a duty to unite when these attacks happen and the WHCA owes Sarah an apology.— Mika Brzezinski (@morningmika) 29 April 2018
The more I think about it, the more impressed I am that Michelle Wolf did such a harsh act WITHOUT insulting any woman's looks. She aimed straight at the white female enforcers & never once suggested that anyone was a bimbo or a dog—like the man they work for surely would have.— Emily Nussbaum (@emilynussbaum) 29 April 2018