Jeff Hunt, among the main coordinators of the Western Conservative Summit at Colorado Christian University, says that comic Samantha Bee's recent description of First Daughter Ivanka Trump as a "feckless cunt" isn't the only reason representatives of Full Frontal, Bee's take-no-prisoners TBS show, have been denied press credentials for this year's event, which gets under way on Friday, June 8.
But Hunt confirms that the C-word was a significant factor in the decision and stresses that anyone who has publicly used the term deserves castigation, including Ted Nugent, whose characterization of Hillary Clinton as a "toxic cunt" in a Westword interview circa 1994 has become a part of the national conversation about the issue in recent days.
"Our discourse in this country needs to reflect our values," Hunt says. "Anybody who uses those terms should be condemned."
Just shy of 24 years ago, Nugent told yours truly: "You probably can't use the term `toxic cunt' in your magazine, but that's what [Hillary Clinton] is. Her very existence insults the spirit of individualism in this country. This bitch is nothing but a two-bit whore for Fidel Castro."
The quote got a viral boost after Bee's Ivanka Trump line and a tweet from her dad arguing that Bee's subsequent apology for the insult wasn't nearly good enough, especially since Roseanne Barr's ABC sitcom reboot was canceled after she said on Twitter that onetime Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett looked as if "Muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby."
"Why aren’t they firing no talent Samantha Bee for the horrible language used on her low ratings show?" President Donald Trump tweeted. "A total double standard but that’s O.K., we are Winning, and will be doing so for a long time to come!"
On MSNBC, commentator and author John Heilemann was among those who used Nugent's slam at Clinton, who was first lady at the time, to assert that Republicans are actually the ones guilty of hypocrisy when it comes to the C-word. But Hunt doesn't shy away from lambasting Nugent in addition to Bee. In his view, criticism for using the profanity "shouldn't just be for one side."
At the same time, Hunt maintains that Bee's obscene invective isn't her only offense. He also didn't like the way her program covered the Western Conservative Summit in 2016, as seen in the following video package:
During the segment, then-candidate Trump is dubbed a "thrice-married, adulterous reality star and failed casino impresario who mocked a disabled reporter and spoke of wanting to bang his own daughter" (Ivanka, naturally), as well as a "lecherous lump of earwax."
But of more concern to Hunt was the reliance on interview snippets from WCS attendees, including a woman who said, "I believe truly that Trump is appointed by God to lead this nation back to the direction it needs to go."
"We have no problem with liberal journalists covering the summit," Hunt insists. "Jason Salzman is going to cover it. But what you have with Samantha Bee is an effort to really bully, shame and harass our attendees. Her correspondents asked unsuspecting folks about public policy, then ran back, cut up all their comments and used what they said to embarrass them nationally."
The subjects focused upon by Bee's crew in 2016 "were just regular folks, not people who do interviews regularly," he emphasizes. "We didn't like the way she treated them. And she's kind of built a career out of this."
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Westword's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Denver's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
One example cited by Hunt: In 2017, Bee issued an I'm-sorry after one of the men in a closely sheared group alleged to have "Nazi hair" at that year's Conservative Political Action Conference revealed that he was suffering from stage-four brain cancer.
Bee's staffers weren't overtly rude in 2016, Hunt acknowledges — "but they kind of went down an avenue to corner our attendees, to press them. And they're not there to have someone do hostile interviews."
In the end, Hunt maintains, the press-credentials refusal flowed from "a combination of issues: what happened at CPAC and the summit and the shaming of Ivanka." Bee "isn't interested in covering a story. She's interested in belittling and bullying conservatives. And there's no place for that at our event."
The Western Conservative Summit runs through June 9, with speakers including U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Click for more information.