Former congressman Anthony Weiner is once again the butt of every late night comedian's jokes, thanks to yet another sexting scandal. But there's a new twist to the coverage this time around. Late Show host Stephen Colbert's joke about Huma Abedin, Weiner's now-estranged wife, was focused on all the wrong things, and shamed Abedin while spinning the blame off of Weiner. Bustle has reached out to Colbert and The Late Show for comment.
Colbert started his monologue with some tired boner jokes that didn't provide humor or insight, before moving on to subtly shaming Abedin. "You know what they say: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me three times... dammit, Anthony! Keep it in your pants until after the election!" he joked. With that comment, Colbert seemed to insinuate that this latest scandal is somehow Abedin's fault for her not being able to control her husband, and that she doesn't care about his infidelities outside of a political context. Colbert managed to hit both the "ambitious harpy" and the "overbearing wife" stereotype before the two-minute mark, which would be almost impressive if it wasn't so frustrating.
Colbert then continued on to paradoxically express remorse that Abedin and Weiner have announced their separation. That makes no sense — Colbert just lampooned Weiner for his idiocy, then said it was sad that they are getting divorced. This very subtly hints at the pitiful single woman trope, which further defames Abedin's character. Colbert never picks a side on whether Abedin would be better off without Weiner or not, and he managed to be pretty insulting as well as inconsistent.
Sex scandals have permeated American politics since the Founding Fathers (that's what half of the entire second act of Hamilton is about), but somehow the country and the press still haven't figured out how to talk about them without being a little bit sexist.
The consequences of public life often mean giving up your option for privacy. Of course, Colbert had the freedom to talk about Weiner's scandal on his show. But the way he did so only served to make him seem outdated and out of touch. The last thing Abedin needs while trying to juggle a divorce, a child, and, oh yeah, a presidential election, is to be made fun of on national television. Colbert really should have known better than to approach this subject this way, because as he rightfully pointed out, this is the third time it's happened. Even if Weiner didn't learn any better in the last five years since his first sexting scandal, Colbert should have.