After a woman in last week's controversial Daily Show segment about the Washington Redskins shared her awful experience, another participant — this time from the Native American side — is speaking out about his involvement.
The segment featured correspondent Jason Jones interviewing Native American activists and Washington Redskins fans separately about the criticism over the team's name. When one Redskins fan suggested "we need to be sitting down with the people that actually are offended," Jones brought in the group of activists. Following the confrontation, the four Redskins fans told The Washington Post that they felt as though they had been tricked. "This goes way beyond mocking," Kelli O'Dell, who suggested the face-to-face discussion, said. "Poking fun is one thing, but that's not what happened. It was disingenuous. The Native Americans accused me of things that were so wrong. I felt in danger. I didn't consent to that. I am going to be defamed."
But Migizi Pensoneau, a member of the 1491s, the Native American comedy troupe featured on the show, says he sympathizes with O'Dell, but also defends what went down in the first segment. "One of the pro-mascot fellas started to defend their position, and everything derailed," he writes in the Missoula Independent. "As some of the anti-mascot activists started in passionately on the issue, pro-mascot panelist Kelli O'Dell, who was previously employed by the Washington Redskins and whose Internet presence is devoted to her support of the team and mascot, started to cry. ... It was an intense situation, but never mean-spirited. O'Dell, though, started to accuse us of ambushing and lying and 'how dare you.' Sobbing and accusatory, she and the others left. From there, we took a break to reset the room, and we did our panel. This one went incredibly well and I'm proud to have been a part of it."
But Things weren't perfect during Pensoneau's second segment, which featured him at a Redskin Nation tailgate party.
"There were points during that hour-long experience where I actually was afraid for my life," he says."I have never been so blatantly threatened, mocked or jeered. It was so intense, so full of vitriol that none of the footage ended up being used in the segment."
Looking back, Pensoneau is still pleased with the segment. "I think back to O'Dell crying and trying desperately to get out of the room full of calm Natives. I thought she was crying because she was caught unawares and was afraid. But I realized that was her defense mechanism, and that by overly dramatizing her experience, she continued to trivialize ours," he says. "And as I realized these things, something else became incredibly clear: She knew she was wrong."
Read his full essay here. Re-watch the segment below: