Jon Stewart Crossed Racial Line with Daily Show Alum
July 24, 2015 – Daily Show alum Wyatt Cenac opened up in a newly released episode of Marc Maron’s WTF podcast, telling of his troubled relationship with host Jon Stewart, which culminated in a fiery argument over Stewart’s impression of black politician, Herman Cain. Cynac, a former writer and correspondent found the impression of the 2012 GOP presidential candidate racially insensitive coming from “kind of an ignorant place.” According to Cynac, the row escalated and culminated with the normally revered Jon Stewart telling him to “fuck off!”
Fox News had already skewered Jon Stewart for the impression at the time, and in response, Stewart was plotting a segment entitled “everything I do is racist.” When Cenac heard this, he raised his criticism in an email to the Daily Show staff but when he expressed his reservations again during a writers meeting, Stewart blew his lid:
“I remember he was like, ‘What are you trying to say? There’s a tone in your voice.’ I was like, ‘There’s no tone. It bothered me.’ And then he got upset. He stood up and he was just like, ‘Fuck off. I’m done with you.’ And he just started screaming that to me, and he screamed it a few times. ‘Fuck off! I’m done with you.’ And he stormed out. I didn’t know if I had been fired.”
Wyatt Cynac would later go on to have an emotional breakdown as result of the incident.
“I was the one black writer there. It was this thing where it’s like, when you’re the one — whether you want to or not — you’re speaking for everybody. I felt like I had to speak for all the minorities, because there’s nobody speaking for them. I represent my people, and I try to represent them the best that I can. I gotta be honest if something seems questionable, because if not, then I don’t want to be in a position where I am being untrue not just to myself but to my culture, because that’s exploitative.”