Fallon, Bachmann & The Roots Respond To Fishbone Controversy

Jimmy Fallon says he’s sorry for The Roots’ snarky song choice during U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann’s intro on Monday’s “Late Night” show, and the Republican presidential candidate says that Questlove should be fired or suspended.

On Monday the house band played a portion of a Fishbone song called “Lyin’ Ass Bitch” as Bachmann walked onto the “Late Night” set. The song is featured on the ska-punk band’s 1985 self-titled, debut EP.

The Wall Street Journal blog Speakeasy posted a statement from Questlove on Tuesday: “The performance was a tongue-in-cheek and spur of the moment decision. The show was not aware of it and I feel bad if her feelings were hurt. That was not my intention.”

Before playing the song Questlove gave fans a heads up on Twitter on Monday. The Roots drummer wrote, “aight late night walkon song devotees: you love it when we snark: this next one takes the cake. ask around cause i aint tweeting title.” He added a link to the EP on iTunes and tweeted, “take a guess. buy the record anyway. its classic and should be in your vocabulary.”

Photo: AP Photo
Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, Pa.

Fallon also took to Twitter to share his thoughts on the matter. On Tuesday he wrote “@questlove is grounded.” Later that day he apologized.

“I’m honored that @michelebachmann was on our show yesterday and I’m so sorry about the intro mess. I really hope she comes back,” Fallon tweeted. “Actually it was a really fun interview. She helped me with my Minnesota accent. (I still sound Irish.)”

Wednesday morning Bachhmann appeared on Fox News Channel’s America’s Newsroom to talk about Pakistan as well as the Fishbone intro.

She explained she wasn’t familiar with the song and didn’t find out about the tune’s title until Tuesday when she was on her way to the presidential debate. Bachhmann added that she didn’t have anything against Fallon, who she hopes to talk to today, but that her beef is with NBC.

“It was a great opportunity to be on the show. I’d love to go back again,” Bachhmann said. “But I think the point is … if that song had been played for Michelle Obama, I have no doubt that NBC would have apologized to her and likely they could have fired the drummer, at least suspended him.”

“None of that happened from NBC. And this is clearly a form of bias on the part of the Hollywood entertainment elite, but it’s also, I think, sexism as well. This wouldn’t be tolerated if this was Michelle Obama; it shouldn’t be tolerated if it’s a conservative woman either. … Of course I accept Jimmy’s apology, but this really needs to come from NBC, and this is an outrage that happened.”

It’s a safe bet to say The Roots wouldn’t play the Fishbone tune for the first lady. Questlove’s Twitter avatar features a picture of the drummer and President Barack Obama.