There’s a silver lining
Samantha Bee is one of our strongest comedic voices, and her show Full Frontal often reminds viewers of the best days of The Daily Show with a powerful, feminist kick. But there’s no denying one recent joke on the show went from political kick to foot in the mouth after one of Bee’s correspondents accidentally mocked a young man with cancer.
During a segment ridiculing CPAC, the annual conservative gathering near Washington, D.C., Full Frontal correspondent Michael Rubens made a joke about how popular the “Nazi haircut” had become with young Trump supporters, showing a montage of CPAC attendees with the cut. However, one of the young men singled out in the clip was Kyle Coddington. It turns out, Coddington doesn’t have a “Nazi haircut; he has Stage IV brain cancer. The shaved portion of his head was from chemotherapy and radiation treatments. The mistake was first brought to attention by Outset, a conservative publication where Coddington works. Coddington’s sister also tweeted about the clueless joke, which quickly went viral:
Opinions on the “high and tight” haircut remain split, even a few years after its hipster heyday. Commonly derided as the “Hitler youth” cut, the undercut buzz with a longer hair on top looks great on movie stars like Tom Hardy, but has some obvious baggage after being embraced by actual modern Nazi sympathizers like Richard Spencer.
Once they were made aware of the embarrassing mistake, the Samantha Bee show quickly apologized through its Twitter account, removed the Coddington joke from the segment, and made a $1,000 donation to Coddington’s GoFundMe page for his cancer treatment:
However, Coddington said that while he was “moved” by the donation, he didn’t find the apology very sincere. After all, it references him being “offended” rather than simply owning the mistake outright.
“The effects of the comments made on Full Frontal go further than my battle with a serious illness,” he said in a statement. “Everyone in that video was targeted unjustly and profiled without facts or proof of the accusations made.”
But there’s an upside to all of this that goes far beyond policing jokes or settling political scores. That’s because all of the attention has resulted in a massive surge of donations to Coddington’s GoFundMe page—at $85,000 and counting—far exceeding his initial goal of just $2,500.
“I am overwhelmed by the support," Coddington said, “and am grateful to everyone who has contributed.”