Stephen Colbert on a recent edition of The Late Show took aim at Presidential candidate Donald Trump -- a nightly occurrence for the comedian -- along with Matt Lauer and the much-maligned "Commander-in-Chief forum" the anchor held this week.
But during the monologue, Colbert segued into a riff on Ammon Bundy, the conservative rancher who butted heads with the federal government over the 2016 occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. While Bundy is largely dismissed as a kook -- and Stephen Colbert had ample material to work with in Bundy's lawyer fighting for his right to dress like a cowboy at trial per Oregon Live -- the show quickly went off the rails when Stephen made an unfortunate and offensive comparison to John Wayne Gacy.
As most know, Gacy was a child predator in the 1970s, who used his gigs as "Pogo the Clown" to target young male victims. Gacy would sexually assault the victims before murdering and burying their bodies in the basement of his home. He was convicted of the crimes in 1980 and executed on May 10, 1994.
@TinaGolaszewsk1 agreed. Also- John Wayne Gacy kinda ruined clowns for me too????????next level creepy pic.twitter.com/HkOiNJOf17Bundy's crimes consisted of saber-rattling stemming from the federal government's right to claim land. Ammon Bundy rallied support from other armed civilians in a standoff that lasted for days but ultimately resulted in no deaths.
— ✨Jessica May✨ (@Heavens211) September 10, 2016
Still, to Stephen Colbert, it was pretty much the same thing.
Colbert's remarks occur in this video at around the six-minute mark, but for sake of convenience, here's the transcription.
"He is now headed to court, and it sounds like he has a good lawyer because they are fighting for his right to dress like a cowboy at his trial. Yes, yes. Why shouldn't he be allowed to dress like a cowboy? For Pete's sake, the Judge gets to wear a cool wizard's robe.... According to his lawyer, if Bundy cannot dress like a cowboy, he won't seem authentic and the jury won't believe him. Yes, the same way John Wayne Gacy never would have been convicted if he'd have shown up in court wearing the clown makeup."
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It's an interesting comparison that whether intentionally or unintentionally places a prolific serial killer and a conservative land owner on equal footing, and people have started to notice.
"The Bundy thing is messed up... you're a d*** Stephen," said one commenter on the YouTube video. "Interesting Colbert seems to disgracefully be equating a child killer rapist to Bundy. Does a real service to the victims," said another.
Ironically, it's a similar false equivalency that helped land Colbert's arch nemesis Donald Trump in hot water after the Democratic National Convention, when Trump compared his own "sacrifices" as a business person to the sacrifices of the Gold Star Khan family, whose late son was killed in action in the Middle East.
While Stephen Colbert hasn't issued any apologies for the comparison at this time, it's unlikely, given his political leanings, that he realized the damage such a comparison might do to the families of Gacy's victims.
On this #CarMatchmaker @spikeferesten finds anti-government militant Ammon Bundy a Ranchin' truck! #Esquire ;-) pic.twitter.com/5Ik7osWFENBut what do you think, readers?
— jeff lee (@JeffLee) September 8, 2016
Did Stephen Colbert step over the line with his comparison? Sound off in the comments section below.