Michelle Wolf Was Right About the Flint Water Crisis

Comedian Michelle Wolf
Comedian Michelle Wolf
Photo: Getty

Anyone paying attention knows that the drama around the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, is far from over. Comedian Michelle Wolf sure knows. While she took some heat during her White House Correspondents Dinner performance for some of her no-bullshit jokes, most people seemed to miss her call out to Flint at the end.


“Flint still doesn’t have clean water,” she shouted right before stepping off stage.

She ain’t lying, either. The situation in Flint continues to unfold like something straight out of a telenovela. Case in point: On Monday, just two days after Wolf’s remarks, Flint Mayor Karen Weaver called on the Environmental Protection Agency to intervene and force Michigan to restart regular meetings as part of a Flint water advisory group.

The state and city are supposed to hold these meetings once a month. However, the state appears uninterested in continuing them. It canceled one last month all because the mayor threatened to sue for its ending the water distribution program. Then, state officials went ahead and uninvited the city from what appeared to be the make-up meeting.

The predominantly black city of nearly 100,000 recently entered its fifth year of crisis—five years since the city’s tap water has been tainted by lead. While the city’s water lead levels now meet federal requirements, families who saw loved ones die from Legionnaires disease, an extreme form of pneumonia, or whose children have suffered from lead poisoning, remain understandably distrustful and unwilling to drink the water that comes from their taps. Especially since they’ve been lied to before.

You know things are desperate when Weaver is calling on Administrator Scott Pruitt’s EPA to do something. The agency has made it clear that cities like Flint aren’t a priority by attempting to undermine public health research, to delay updates to lead-based paint rules, and to reduce its budget to levels that’d make helping communities like Flint harder. Pruitt has brought industry influence into every aspect of the EPA’s decision making. That means fewer regulations and protections to help make companies’ lives easier.

(And industry’s already got it good in Michigan. Just ask Nestlé.)

Shout out to Wolf, a comedian who’s not afraid to say it like it is and knows that there’s much more that needs to be done to save the city of Flint.


Yessenia Funes is climate editor at Atmos Magazine. She loves Earther forever.


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Isn’t Michelle Wolf white AF?

Sorry, that was from another blog. I guess conservatives thought she was of mixed race. She looks like one of my grandmothers when nonie was young and strapping.

Wolf mentioned Flint because it has been in the news ad nauseum. When delivering a joke, you lose the audience if you have to set up the punch line with a lesson about water supply piping and the use of lead pipe service lines between the street main and the house in most old cities - and how lead leaches into water faster upon lowering the pH in not only Flint but other cities like Chicago and elsewhere - so many cities offer chemical coatings that imbibe into the lead pipe surface.

Obviously, it’s better to use Flint in the joke set up because our esteemed environmental justice media only tells us about that city and there’s enough black folks in town as water users to make a point.

Sorry, I’m being a bit cynical today. I think I’ll go log off and enjoy the outdoors.