Invited to appear on Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show to defend the team mascot and nickname, several Washington Redskins fans believe they were set-up by the comedy show, with one participant running out in tears before later calling the police.
According to the Washington Post, several members of ‘Redskins Nation’ agreed to appear on the show despite its reputation for mocking guests in interviews.
The fans, who support Redskins’ owner Dan Snyder’s refusal to change the team name — considered by many to be a racial slur — were to meet Daily Show correspondent Jason Jones at a Dupont Circle hotel for the taping.
What the guests didn’t know was that the show had also invited a group of Native American activists who confronted them, explaining that they found the name offensive.
One guest found the encounter so upsetting she left the taping in tears, later calling the police because she felt she had been personally threatened.
“This goes way beyond mocking. Poking fun is one thing, but that’s not what happened,” said Kelli O’Dell, 56, who lives in Alexandria. “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.”
O’Dell, who admits to not watching the show regularly, has asked the producers of the show to edit her out of the episode, but received no assurances.
Another guest claims he and other Redskins backers had specifically asked the producers if Native Americans would be part of the segment.
“They told us they were going to have a fan panel, and, at some other time, they were going to do a panel with Native Americans,” said Brian Dortch, 38. “So I said back, ‘Just to clarify, specifically, we’re not doing a cross-panel discussion right?’ The producer said, ‘Yeah, right. That would be too serious for Comedy Central.’”
Producers for the show referred questions to a Comedy Central spokeswoman who declined to comment.
One of the Native Americans who attended the taping said that her group walked into the room and accused the DC football fans of supporting a racist mascot.
“My heart goes out to them because they are people, too,” said Tara Houska, an activist who works for Eradicating Offensive Native Mascotry. “But it’s a weird position for them to take, because someone is crying over the loss of their offensive mascot when I am right there, standing in front of them. I don’t think they’re racist. I think their mascot is racist.”
According to some of the Native American guests, the Daily Show crew took them to a tailgate party at FedEx Field before the Redskins played their home-opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars and that several fans cursed them, with one reportedly shouting, ‘Thanks a lot for letting us use your name, boys!’”
The segment was slated to run this week but was preempted for an interview with former President Bill Clinton.
It is expected to run his week.