After a disastrous appearance on a recent episode of The Problem with Jon Stewart that tackled “The Problem with White People,” political commentator Andrew Sullivan is now claiming that he was duped into appearing on the show by an allegedly dishonest booker. During the panel discussion, Sullivan was repeatedly called out by the former Daily Show host for “minimizing” the systemic presence of white supremacy in America. At one point, Stewart got so frustrated after repeatedly explaining himself to Sullivan that he said, “Andrew, you’re not living on the same f*cking planet we are, honestly.”
Stewart would later drag Sullivan on the podcast episode recapping the show. “I thought that conversation would be productive and ultimately I thought it was,” Stewart said via Mediaite. “Making Andrew Sullivan play the role of the white person who doesn’t understand that this is being taped – holy sh*t!”
Realizing that he didn’t come off looking great, Sullivan took to his The Weekly Dish newsletter on Friday and essentially accused The Problem with Jon Stewart booker of deceiving him into the panel appearance. According to Sullivan, the booker asked him to come on discuss racism, but he was told it would just be him and Stewart:
I said I’d think about it — especially since they seemed desperate with just 24 hours till taping — and later I called to say sure, if it’s just Jon. “I trust him to be fair.” I hadn’t had time to read the email invites, so I trusted the booker’s word.
But just before the taping, as I emerged blearily from Dishing, I found out, in fact, that there would be two other guests, and that it would, indeed, be a debate. Surprise! As the show started, I also realized for the first time there was a live studio audience and that the episode was called “The Problem With White People” — a title I’d never have been a party to, if I’d known in advance. (I wouldn’t go on a show called “The Problem With Jews” or “The Problem With Black People” either.) At that point I should have climbed carefully off the stake, tamped down the flames, made a path through the kindling, and walked away.
As Sullivan continued, he claimed that he protested to producers who gave him the option to back out, but he didn’t want to leave the show “in a lurch” and he trusted that Stewart “was a pro.” Instead, Sullivan was shocked to find himself “demonized” and “cursed at” by someone he thought believed in “sane discourse.”
You can watch the segment below and judge for yourself: