CBS "Late Show" host Stephen Colbert is under fire for a joke that he made about President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin on May 1 (video below).
Variety notes that Colbert rattled off a string of insults to defend CBS News correspondent John Dickerson, whom Trump insulted on "Face The Nation" and walked away from on "CBS This Morning":
Sir, you attract more skinheads than free Rogaine. You have more people marching against you than cancer. You talk like a sign language gorilla who got hit in the head. In fact, the only thing your mouth is good for is being Vladimir Putin’s c*** holster.
CBS did not issue a statement to Variety, but the entertainment news site noted the outrage on Twitter, where the hashtag #FireColbert was in full force:
Waaaaaaay over the line. Needs to issue a formal apology & go on several weeks of UNPAID leave. Else, #FireColbert.
Unfunny show has now become a disgusting show. Turning off CBS. #FireColbert.
#FireColbert Anti-American. Homophobic. Bigot.
You know, it's time to #FireColbert cos if this was Rush saying this about Obama his head would roll. It's time to level the playing field.
On one hand, [JimmyKimmelLive] tugging at the heartstrings with genuine feels. On the other, homophobic [colbertlateshow]. #FireColbert.
#FIRECOLBERT His remarks about our president were disgusting even for him.
That's really out of line. Won't watch Colbert again. Don't like his show anyway. So politically correct until it comes 2 this? #FireColbert.
[StephenAtHome] You're a scumbag.
[StephenAtHome] Totally unacceptable and shameful to speak of our Commander In Chief that way #FIRECOLBERT.
Vox explained why Colbert's joke was offensive:
But the only way this works as a joke is by demeaning gay people. The underlying implication here is that gay relationships are somehow extra funny -- that Trump engaging in sexual acts with Putin is hilarious because it’s gay.
In a setting in which Colbert is deliberately trying to find a way to insult Trump, it’s telling that he resorts to suggesting that Trump is engaging in sexual acts with another man. The suggestion is that the worst thing that could happen for these men is if they engaged in homosexual acts together, as if that devalues them as men, makes them submissive, or emasculates them.
According to the Daily Mail, Colbert's once-struggling show has taken the lead in the TV ratings since the second week of Trump's presidency, in part because of Colbert's anti-Trump material. However, "The Tonight Show" is leading among viewers ages 18 to 49.
(Note: Jokes start at 11:30 mark)