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Samantha Bee on #MeToo backlash: 'It doesn't have to be rape to ruin your life'

Samantha Bee had a lot to say Wednesday about the #MeToo backlash.
Samantha Bee had a lot to say Wednesday about the #MeToo backlash. (Jessica Miglio / TBS)

If we've learned anything from the social media age, it's that a lot can happen in a matter of days.

TBS late-night host Samantha Bee reinforced this notion on Wednesday's episode of "Full Frontal," during which she spent seven minutes tracing the building backlash against the #MeToo movement all the way to ... last week.

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On Jan. 10, a former editor at the New Republic revealed herself as the creator of an online list of men in the media industry accused of sexual misconduct. It wasn't long before critics chimed in.

"Now that we're finally listening to women, some people are asking an important question: Should we stop listening to women?" Bee said.

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Andrew Sullivan notably knocked the media-men list in a column for New York magazine, deeming it an "online forum in which anonymous people could make accusations about men whose careers and reputations would potentially be destroyed as a consequence." Bee opted to compare the list to the Green Book, a guidebook published in the 1930s to help black roadtrippers travel the country safely.

"The list told women which men might be hostile, gropey, grabby, pinchy, pervy, plagiarize-y and rapey, aka the Weinstein Company version of the seven dwarfs," she said.

Bee presented a montage of #MeToo critics voicing their opinion, including former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice and "Taken" star Liam Neeson, and deemed them members of "the #YouTooLoud movement."

"It doesn't have to be rape to ruin your life, and it doesn't have to ruin your life to be worth speaking out about," Bee said. "Any kind of sexual harassment or coercion is unacceptable."

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Coercion was central to online debate about a 2017 incident involving comedian Aziz Ansari, detailed in a controversial piece published Saturday by Babe.net. The article implied that Ansari had ignored a young woman's "verbal and non-verbal cues" that she didn't want to have sex, and readers argued about whether his actions should be considered sexual misconduct or simply part of "a bad date." (Ansari has since stated that he believed the encounter was consensual.)

HLN host Ashleigh Banfield chose the latter of the two sides, as Bee shared on her show, and said it was on the young woman for not leaving the date earlier in the night. Others have expressed concern that supporters of the #MeToo movement are equating the seriousness of assault and coercion. Bee shot this argument down immediately.

"We know the difference between a rapist, a workplace harasser and an Aziz Ansari," she said. "That doesn't mean we have to be happy about any of them."

Bee ended the heated segment by directing her exasperation toward men who have worn a Time's Up pin but who she claims don't act on their avowed feminist beliefs: "We are not your accessories."

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