Samantha Bee Shares Video From Puerto Rico Blackout To Draw Attention To Ongoing Crisis

"The lights were strobing. The lights went on and off."

Samantha Bee, host of the TBS political comedy show Full Frontal, is currently in Puerto Rico filming a one-hour special about the island's ongoing troubles following Hurricane Maria last September. However, Bee didn't wait for the episode to air to show her viewers the power outage she and her crew experienced during their trip.

On Sunday, the show tweeted video of Bee speaking to camera in the dark after her San Juan hotel's power went out. "In fact, I was actually on the balcony of my hotel, and I watched all of the city before me in a rolling blackout situation," she said. "The lights were strobing. The lights went on and off."

CNN reported that the blackout was caused by an explosion at a power substation. Bee called it "a little portrait of how unstable things are." 

Later, the show tweeted another video of the hotel's lights coming on briefly before going out again. They tagged President Donald Trump, writing that they "wanted to update you on the power situation." Bee's show has been critical of the administration's handling of the hurricane relief in the U.S. territory.

"My staff and I watched the power go out across San Juan last night and within minutes were lighting fires in our hotel rooms and drinking the contents of our minibars for warmth," Bee described the situation in a statement to Variety. "Probably could learn a few lessons from the resilience of the Puerto Rican people, over a million of whom still don't have power after five months. If our administration wants to make America great again, I suggest they start with the American citizens of Puerto Rico."

Last month, video went viral of students cheering over power being restored in their school, drawing attention to the ongoing crisis. A few weeks ago, Sen. Kristen Gillibrand brought San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz as her guest to the president's State of the Union address to further highlight the island's continued need for assistance.

According to the New York Times, a recent two-year budget deal from the U.S. government includes disaster relief funding for Puerto Rico, but it reportedly falls tens of billions short of the $94.4 billion estimated in November as being needed to rebuild. The Times reports that 28 percent of Puerto Ricans are still without power.

Cover image: Kathy Hutchins /


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