vulture festival 2018

Samantha Bee Discusses How Trolls Targeted Full Frontal for Its Eric Schneiderman Story

Samantha Bee. Photo: Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Vulture Festival

This Sunday, Samantha Bee and part of the Full Frontal team — Melinda Taub, Ashley Nicole Black, Allana Harkin, Mike Rubens, and Amy Hoggart — joined New York writer-at-large Rebecca Traister in conversation at Vulture Festival to discuss the show’s place in comedy, media criticism, and the night the allegations against Eric Schneiderman came out. “Within hours, you guys were somehow getting trolled for it,” Traister pointed out. Bee explained that Full Frontal did a piece on Schneiderman months before the physical abuse allegations and his subsequent resignation from attorney general of New York. “We characterized him as a superhero, and we owned that because he really was doing just an incredible job of bringing all the AGs together. He was putting up just great resistance,” Bee said. The segment included animations of Schneiderman leaping from tall buildings. She continued.

“It was a really funny piece. It was really fun to do. I had never met him before. We sat there. We talked for about two or three hours, and that was pretty much it. We built this piece around him. And then that just quietly existed. The day that the piece dropped, and I recall it dropping at 6:47 p.m. because I looked at my watch. I saw the headline. I was making dinner. I saw the headline, and I was like, ‘Nooooo.’ And then I read the article really fast. It was just horrifying.

“We learned that he had tweeted at the show that day. Eric Schneiderman had with the animations of himself. He was like, ‘Remember when I was on Full Frontal.’ He literally clung to us like we were his feminist life raft. Like, ‘Remember when the feminists thought I was cool. I’m still cool. I still got it.’ Obviously he knew that that story was going to be breaking about him. And that unleashed troll hell on our show. We’re always trolled. That’s just like a fact. But sometimes it escalates in a way that feels really different. It’s in the air. Everything’s different. Everything changes. You reach a new kind of high, and that is what we experienced from that because he did that. I mean he’s a fucking asshole.”

Not surprisingly, the Full Frontal team was pretty angry with Schneiderman. “So angry,” said Bee. “That’s a great example of literally everybody in the office being just wild with fury. It was enraging for a million reasons.” She and the team had a long discussion the next day about what to do with that piece, before deciding to not remove the video on YouTube but to retitle it. “I think was the correct thing to do.”

And then, of course, Full Frontal released a new piece, giving Schneiderman a big F**K YOU.

Sam Bee: Trolls Targeted Full Frontal’s Schneiderman Story