A Daily Show with Jon Stewart segment that features Redskins fans in a debate with activist Native Americans turned into a not-so-funny, caustic shouting match that angered many of the participants on the comedy news show.
Four hardcore Redskins fans signed up to be in an upcoming episode of the Daily Show, knowing they were likely to be mocked in an interview with correspondent Jason Jones, the Washington Post reports. But three hours into the taping, a large group of Native American activists—prearranged by Daily Show producers to confront the Redskins fans—appeared, and the segment descended into vitriol.
The Native American group, some of which are members of the comedy group the 1491s, entered the room where the Redskins were being interviewed. At first there was an awkward silence. Then, the Native Americans angrily accused the fans of supporting a racist mascot. One activist, Amanda Blackhorse said she called a fan an “alcoholic, someone who’s in denial and who doesn’t want to believe what they’re doing is not right.”
A 56-year-old Redskins fan, Kelli O’Dell, said she felt trapped, broke into tears and took off her microphone to leave the room.
“This goes way beyond mocking. Poking fun is one thing, but that’s not what happened,” O’Dell said. “It was disingenuous. The Native Americans accused me of things that were so wrong. I felt in danger. I didn’t consent to that. I am going to be defamed.”
The Daily Show told the Redskins fans that there would be a panel with Native Americans, but was unclear about whether there would be a cross-panel discussion.
The Native Americans took flak as they were being filmed for The Daily Show at the FedEx Field on Sunday, where Redskins fans tailgating an NFL season opener shouted obscenities at them. According to one of the Native Americans, one man shouted at them “Thanks a lot for letting us use your name, boys!”
The Redskins name and logo have long been a subject of controversy, with Native American groups filing successive lawsuits claiming the name is disparaging. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office voted to cancel the Redskins trademark, but its owner, Dan Snyder, has adamantly refused to change the team’s name.
The Daily Show episode in question hasn’t aired yet.