The Washington Redskins fans who felt mistreated by “The Daily Show” have nothing on the actual Native Americans who also appeared on the Comedy Central program, according to host Jon Stewart.
In a segment that garnered attention before it even aired in late-September, “The Daily Show” correspondent Jason Jones brought together four Redskins diehards — all defenders of the team’s racially charged name — and a group of Native Americans.
The fans said they were blindsided by the confrontation. One fan, Kelli O’Dell, even said she felt “in danger” and later called the police (the cops told her that no crime had been committed.)
Stewart defended the segment in an interview with New York Magazine, dismissing the suggestion that the Redskins fans were unwitting victims.
“I wouldn’t call it an ambush. We don’t lie to people and say we’re not The Daily Show or ‘This won’t happen’ or things like that. I even said on the show if we found out that these people had been intentionally misled, that segment wouldn’t have aired,” Stewart explained. “That’s not the case.”
“The Daily Show” ultimately didn’t air much of the showdown between the fans and the Native American activists.
Migizi Pensoneau, whose Native American comedy group participated in the segment, later provided details on some other footage that didn’t make it to air, sounding off on the threats and insults he drew while milling about a tailgate party outside FedEx Field, the home stadium of the Redskins.
In his interview with New York Magazine, Stewart backed Pensoneau’s account.
“I’ll tell you where there was a real ambush—when the Native Americans went to the stadium and people said the most vile shit to them,” Stewart said. “The ugliness that arose was mind-numbing. So for the story to be these poor people, the Redskins fans, who sat in a room and had to then talk to the Native Americans … I don’t understand the weird defensiveness. We all live in a country built on this very devastating scenario with the people who were already living here. That’s our original Manifest Destiny sin. In some ways, by accepting the flaws, the progress that we’ve made is more impressive.”