Samantha Bee Says the Coronavirus Is "Not an Excuse to Be Racist"

Full Frontal with Samantha Bee - Coronavirus Publicity- H 2020
Courtesy of TBS

"I know racism is like America's weighted blanket. When everything is stressful, nothing makes us feel more secure than treating other people like trash," Bee said during Wednesday's episode of 'Full Frontal.'

Samantha Bee took aim at the racist reactions to the coronavirus during Wednesday's episode of Full Frontal.

The host kicked off the episode by addressing why the audience space was empty. "Due to the increasing threat of the coronavirus, we wanted to do the responsible thing and not have an audience," she said before noting that some of the show's staff members were sporadically placed in the audience. "We have some people, but they work for us and they are sitting six feet apart as recommended by the CDC. And also because they hate each other."

Following a montage of clips that showed media coverage blaming China for the spread of the virus, Bee criticized the outlets for that approach.

"Tying coronavirus to China and Chinese people isn't just a racist dog whistle. It's a whole racist orchestra. It's a mighty, mighty racist bosstone," she said. "Which brings me to this important point. The coronavirus is not an excuse to be racist."

"I know racism is like America's weighted blanket. When everything is stressful, nothing makes us feel more secure than treating other people like trash," said Bee. 

She then noted a number of discriminatory actions connected to the outbreak, including a Costco employee telling a young boy wearing a mask to stay away. "That tray of room temperature ham samples probably already has every other disease imaginable after sitting there getting groped by customers all day," said the host. "If anything, a little coronavirus might kill the listeria."

A following news clip showed the owner of a Chinese restaurant explaining that business was down because potential customers believed they might get the virus.

"That is so stupid. Avoiding Chinese restaurants because you think every Chinese person has coronavirus?" said Bee. "That's like not going to IKEA because you think all Swedish people want to burn you alive in a bear suit, which they do."

Bee next called out news outlets that have "repeatedly misused photos of Asian faces in masks to illustrate stories about coronavirus, regardless of who or what the story is about." The host called the reporting "lazy" and joked that there are "dozens of photos of me on Getty wearing face masks."

Many Chinese people have also been turned away from businesses, including a pair of travelers who were told they were not welcome at a Super 8. "No one should feel scared to stay there because they're Asian," said Bee. "They should be scared to stay there because they will probably be eaten out the ass by bed bugs."

The host added that these "are not rare, isolated incidents" and that the CDC has released an official statement that "being Asian is not a risk factor for coronavirus."

Bee also called out President Donald Trump for downplaying the severity of the coronavirus. In one clip, Trump assured reporters that tests for the virus were available and they were "beautiful."

"These tests are so hot, you'll want to get them pregnant," joked Bee. "That's not true. I wish I could knock up a test right now, but there aren't any. To date, the U.S. has tested fewer than 5,000 people for COVID-19, which is far behind other developed countries."

Bee added that the White House is "completely mishandling this very real, very scary pandemic," noting that the Trump administration overturned the CDC's recommendation for senior citizens to avoid flying.

"COVID-19 is scary and it's made even scarier because our government is mishandling this crisis and conservative media is using Asian people as scapegoats," said Bee. "The Trump administration is not going to save us. We have to take care of each other. It is not OK to mistreat people out of fear and panic."

Watch the full segment below.