Exercising the First Amendment


Courtesy of REX Shutterstock

Michelle Wolf receives backlash for her remarks from the 2018 White House Correspondents Dinner.

Amanda Chung, Photojournalist

Michelle Wolf, a comedian, was invited to perform a speech at the annual White House Correspondents Dinner on April 28, 2018. Her confrontational and explicit jokes generated a lot of criticism from a variety of different public figures, most notably Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the chief White House spokeswoman under the Trump administration.

The White House Correspondents Dinner began in the early 20th century. Is in an event for journalists to gather, and it is often recognized as an embodiment of the first amendment. The organization that holds this event also raise funds for student scholarships. Traditionally, the president and many members of his administration attend, but Donald Trump is one of the first to opt out; he wasn’t present for the 2017 or the 2018 dinner.

Last year, Muslim comedian, Hasan Minhaj, presented his roast at the 2017 dinner, joking that no one wanted to do it “so of course it landed in the hands of an immigrant.” Because of the severity of the political tension and hostility between the parties that arose in reaction to Trump’s recent inauguration, it was understandable that many comedians didn’t want to get involved. However, Hasan Minhaj did not hold back his attacks on the new administration and the different media organization there that night.

A year later, Wolf, a colleague of Minhaj, followed in his footsteps. According to her critics, the language that she used in her “roast” was too strong and too vulgar. Wolf specifically joked that Sarah Huckabee Sanders “burns facts, and then she uses the ash to create a perfect smokey eye.” Mika Brzezinski from MSNBC called her out for her diss at Sanders, writing that “watching a wife and mother be humiliated on national television for her looks is deplorable” (NY Times). However, many people came to Wolf’s defense, reminding everyone that the President of the United States has said worse things.

Ashley Bui-Tran (11) believes that the White Correspondents Dinner is an essential event for the United States, especially during this time of political turbulence. She thinks that this dinner “exemplifies the power the people have” because “in other countries, people can be killed for talking bad about the leader of the country.” Also, she commented on the Huckabee Sanders jokes, saying that it was in no way making fun of her appearance and that Wolf was “just joking about the way she deceives the public.”

Following the dinner, Michelle Wolf has been working on her new Netflix special, “The Break.” It is set to be released on May 27, 2018.