By Kallie Gregg
In the middle of host Stephen Colbert’s monologue during the 69th Emmys on Sunday, former White House press secretary Sean Spicer made a shocking appearance. Spicer rolled onto the stage on a motorized podium reminiscent of the one used by comedian Melissa McCarthy during her impressions of him on “Saturday Night Live.”
Calling back to comments he made after President Donald J. Trump’s inauguration in January, Spicer joked about the size of the Emmy crowd. Despite photo and video evidence to the contrary, he had previously claimed President Trump had the, “largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period – both in person and around the globe.”
As the podium came into view and Colbert welcomed Spicer to the stage, cameras panned to show celebrities in the audience — some bursting into delighter laughter, others into applause, still others looking bewildered. Backstage at the ceremony, actors and actresses posed for pictures and staged impromptu photo ops with him (“The Late Late Show with James Corden” host was captured kissing Spicer on the cheek.)
However, other famous figures took to social media to criticize Spicer’s inclusion and the audience’s reaction to him.
Actor Zach Braff said on Twitter he doesn’t feel ready to, “laugh ‘with’ Sean Spicer. I think he is an evil, opportunistic liar that hurt our country.”
Seth Rogen noted that if he were to encounter Spicer socially, he would “get less pleasure taking a picture with him than I would calling him an f****** liar to his face.”
Rogen makes a comwpelling point. If the nation embraces Sean Spicer as a comedic figure, we absolve him of his actions during his tenure in the Trump administration. Every cheeky Instagram post is indicative of someone who would allow Spicer to reclaim a place in society without any consequences for ideologies he parroted from the White House with impunity.
Spicer repeatedly and unapologetically lied to the American people during his time working for President Trump. He branded the media as an “enemy” and encouraged citizens to distrust journalists and news organizations. That Spicer was invited to take the stage on Sunday and joke about using his position within the administration to peddle blatant falsehoods is horrifying. For the crowd to react by laughing and later embracing him is even worse.
Politics, and President Trump, were recurring motifs at the Emmys. Colbert mocked him for never himself winning an Emmy and acceptance speeches were peppered with references to social justice, often by celebrities wearing American Civil Liberties Union ribbons pinned to their gowns and tuxedos.
This begs the question: How can a room full of people who seemingly lean to the left of the political spectrum make room for a man like Spicer? Sunday seemed proof positive that Hollywood will not hold him accountable (and neither will Harvard University, where he is newly employed,) but surely someone should.