“Recently, we sent our intrepid reporter Jason Jones out to the field to explore the phenomenon of a certain Washington D.C. football team’s controversial name,” Stewart told viewers. “We learned later that some of the participants who participated in the piece — they didn’t enjoy the experience.” Stewart added, ” we take the complaints seriously…If we find out, in a piece, that someone was intentionally misled or if their comments were intentionally misrepresented. We do not air that piece,” he insisted.
In the segment, Jones interviewed four die-hard team fans who support use of the name. The four fanatics told The Washington Post they were duped by The Daily Show and, in the course of the pre-taped interview, they were ambushed by Native Americans — an ambush that left the team fans feeling in danger and “defamed” according to WaPo.
The Daily Show segment is one of several Comedy Central shows to go after the team’s owner over his refusal to change its name. One day earlier, the 18th season debut of South Park — an episode called “Go Fund Yourself,” had the boys of South Park finance their new company with a Kickstarter campaign, and decide to call their company The Washington Redskins, because it’s available since the “court thingy.” (In June, the U.S. Patent Office canceled trademark protection for the team name because it said it was an insult to Native Americans; that move threatened millions of dollars in merchandising, sponsorships, etc. The team has appealed that ruling.)
In the episode, Snyder argued the new company name makes his team seem a joke and says he’s deeply offended; Cartman insists the gang has a deep appreciation and admiration for Snyder’s “people.” Privately, however, the boys acknowledge “digging in our heels and pissing on public opinion is what the Redskins are all about!” Snyder turns for help to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who is revealed to be a robot with only a limited repertoire of cliches — and they’ve all been used in his handling of the league’s domestic violence scandal. Goodell’s voice makes its South Park debut in that scene.
Last spring, a campaign to get Stephen Colbert’s show canceled broke out when Comedy Central’s @ColbertReport tweeted out a single line Colbert had delivered on his show, mocking Snyder for his latest reaction to the calls to change the racial slur that is the name of his Washington NFL team. Snyder, in an effort to placate those calling for a name change — including President Obama — had just announced his formation of a foundation to help Native Americans. Proving his critics’ point, Snyder named the foundation The Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation.
Subsequently, Colbert devoted an entire episode of his show to a rebuttal of #CancelColbert: “The Interweb tried to swallow me whole. But I am proud to say that I got lodged in its throat and it hacked me back up, like a hastily chewed chicken wing,” Colbert told fans who’d tuned in to see how he would respond to the kerfuffle, which had been a top trending topic on Twitter for two days running.
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