Earlier this month, The Daily Show With Jon Stewart filmed a segment about the controversy surrounding the name of the Washington Redskins. Correspondent Jason Jones brought together four diehard Redskins fans and a group of Native American activists and comedians (who argue that “Redskins” is a “dictionary-defined racial slur”). The fans weren’t happy about being forced to take part in the debate, telling The Washington Post they felt duped and were under the impression they would be giving their opinions without rebuttal.
The segment was reportedly supposed to air last week, but it finally made airwaves during Thursday night’s episode, with a carefully worded introduction from Stewart.
“We learned later that some of the individuals who participated in the piece…didn’t enjoy the experience,” the host says in the above clip. “It is something that happens a lot less than you would think, but we take the complaint seriously. We generally don’t want people who participate in the show to have a bad experience. We work very hard to find real people who have real beliefs and want to express those beliefs on television, and we work hard to make sure the gist of those beliefs are represented accurately, albeit sometimes comedically, on our program.
“If we find out that someone in a piece was intentionally misled, or if their comments were intentionally misrepresented, we do not air that piece. We would not air that piece. So that being said, I hope you enjoy the following piece.”
Jones starts the segment by interviewing each group individually, framing the fans’ responses with the show’s typical satirical commentary. “It’d be tough,” one fan says of the possibility of losing the Redskins name. “It’d be like losing a family member.” “If the Redskins name is changed and I have children one day,” another ponders, “what will I pass on to them?”
Daniel Snyder, the Redskins owner, tells Jones that the name “represents honor; it represents pride; it represents respect.” But the Native Americans are baffled by this definition: “‘Redskin’ is a bounty,” says Ryan RedCorn, a member of Native American comedy group the 1491s. (The segment also features Amanda Blackhorse, who served as lead plaintiff in the June case wherein the U.S. Patent Office canceled the Redskins trademark registration, ruling that the team’s name is “disparaging of Native Americans.”)
Jones then ventures to the team’s FedEx Field, where he mocks booze-driven tailgate culture and interviews a few fans (some of whom demand to have their faces blurred). The clip ends with the aforementioned meeting between the fans and Native Americans, though it doesn’t include much evidence of a heated confrontation.
“This goes way beyond mocking,” Kelli O’Dell, one of the Redskins fans, told The Washington Post of the encounter. “Poking fun is one thing, but that’s not what happened. 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.”