'The Daily Show' 's Jessica Williams to Journalist Who Told Her to 'Lean In': I'm Not a Victim

After putting Daily Show speculation to rest, Williams was criticized for calling herself "under-qualified"

Photo: Larry Busacca/Getty

Jessica Williams may not be taking over Jon Stewart‘s soon-to-be vacated seat on The Daily Show, but don’t call her a victim.

Following the announcement that Stewart would be stepping down, the Twitter hive mind immediately decided that Williams should take his place.

The Daily Show correspondent responded to the furor by thanking her fans for their support but saying she is “extremely under-qualified for the job,” adding, “At this age (25) if something happens politically that I don’t agree with, I need to go to my room and like not come out for, like, 7 days.”

This prompted a writer at The Billfold to accuse Williams of showing the symptoms of “Imposter Syndrome, a well-documented phenomenon in which men look at their abilities [versus] the requirements of a job posting and round up, whereas women do the same and round down, calling themselves ‘unqualified.’ ”

“Bull—,” wrote The Billfold of Williams’s own belief that she is under-qualified to host The Daily Show. “All Williams needs is a pep talk.”

The writer of the piece, Ester Bloom, Tweeted the story out, including Williams’s handle, and told her that she needed to “lean in.” (That is, to become more assertive at work, a term popularized by author Sheryl Sandberg.)

“This is incredibly insulting,” Williams responded in a Tweet to Bloom, adding, “Because of my choice, you have diagnosed me with something without knowing me at all. For the world to see.

“Because you have personally decided, that I DON’T know myself – as a WOMAN you are saying that I need to lean in,” Williams continued. “Are you unaware how insulting that can be for a fully functioning person to hear that her choices are invalid? If I wanted my personal choices for myself deemed invalid, I’d go to a [misogynist].

“This, quite honestly, hurt my feelings.”

Williams went on to take issue with Bloom calling her a “victim” for “making a choice for myself,” asking: “Is it possible that I know and love myself enough to admit what I’m not ready for? Without regard to what other people want me to be?

“I am a black woman and I am a feminist and I am so many things,” Williams finished. “I am truly honored that people love my work. But I am not yours.”

Bloom later apologized and amended her original post.

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