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Don’t normalize Sean Spicer

Proper award show-hosting etiquette has evolved into having an elaborate, pop culture-related shtick. For Stephen Colbert’s hosting, it became clear that the 2017 Emmy Awards would poke fun at President Donald Trump and his administration. This was amusing at first, but in the last few minutes of Colbert’s monologue, what was intended as a playful surprise turned into a serious normalization of a babbling, rude and lying man.

For those who missed the show, or may not understand why Sean Spicer suddenly reappeared on timelines long after Melissa McCarthy stepped down from the podium of impersonating him on Saturday Night Live, Spicer took the Emmy stage and told Colbert that, “This will be the largest audience to witness an Emmys, period — Both in person and around the world.”

This supposedly light-hearted and humorous remark alluded to Spicer’s first news conference as the White House press secretary, when he made that same comment about the crowd at Trump’s inauguration. However, this was not light-hearted or humorous in any way. It reflected Trump’s involvement in active and frequent evasion of facts and truth, and how for a time, Spicer played a pivotal role in that process.

Inviting Spicer onto the Emmy’s stage not only allowed the audience to laugh at him, but allowed Spicer to laugh along with them. They attempted to pass him off as a harmless, funny guy who deserves praise and possibly pity from his resignation as press secretary in July. He is not deserving of this opportunity.

This is not the first time Spicer has been normalized. He appeared on Jimmy Kimmel’s show, “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” on Sept. 13, where he immediately commented on the praise he has received and the thanks for “serving his country” as press secretary. He was given a chance to explain himself and his “silly” (those are his words) actions, such as arguing that “you can disagree with the facts.” This interview, mingled with jokes and applause, humanized a man who lied to journalists — and by extension, America — time and time again about important issues.

Not alone in late night television appearances, Trump appeared on “The Tonight Show” with Jimmy Fallon while campaigning for the presidency. Fallon playfully ruffled the candidate’s hair, receiving cheers from the audience. Ignoring how this man is racist, sexist, xenophobic — and the list can go on — Fallon humanized Trump with a comical focus on a physical feature.

This normalization is toxic. Television has a heavy influence on culture and society, and watching these dangerous men be portrayed as human and relatable glazes over their features that jeopardize the safety and sanity of our nation. It sends forth the impression that as long as you get your face on TV, or cause Twitter to “blow up” with your name, then you’ve made an impressive accomplishment and deserve a pat on the back. This cannot be true, and we cannot normalize these dangerous men.

There are other, preferable ways to poke fun at our political climate — when appropriate, of course. However, inviting the man who endangered Americans’ access to information to laugh with us took it one step too far. Take your podium and exit stage left please, Spicer.

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