Earlier this week, Stephen Colbert responded to the outrage that erupted after an out-of-context quote from his program was tweeted from Viacom’s promotional Twitter account for “The Colbert Report” (2005-present). Using his trademark irony to mock his critics and distance himself from the tweet, which Colbert asserted was not approved by him, the host presented himself as in control of an issue blown out of proportion by blogs and broadcast news.
The topic surfaced when the hashtag #CancelColbert gained momentum on Twitter last Thursday. A so-called hashtag activist named Suey Park attempted to frame Colbert as a racist following the tweet, which mocked the owner of the Washington Redskins and the football team’s racist moniker.
In a segment called “Who’s Attacking Me Now?” Colbert responded to critics by sharing various news clips and listing all of the websites and magazines that helped #CancelColbert gain traction. Lampooning the idea of trying to cancel a television show for just a few out of context words, Colbert, identifying himself as an Irish-American, sarcastically urged his viewers to #CancelSwift – a reference to author Jonathon Swift’s satirical essay “A Modest Proposal” (1729), which suggested that the poor in Ireland might ease their economic woes by selling their babies as food.
“The dark forces trying to silence my message of core conservative principles mixed with youth-friendly product placement have been thwarted,” Colbert declared to cheers from the audience as he sipped a Bud Lite Lime. Despite the uproar, it certainly looks like Colbert has, once again, silenced his detractors with his characteristic good humor and irony.