Michigan Gov. Whitmer sports ‘Shark Week’ swag after explicit joke goes viral

Whitmer caught on live feed mouthing expletive while making 'Shark Week' joke

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer received swag from Discovery's "Shark Week" after comments she made before her Monday DNC speech went viral. Photo courtesy of Gov. Whitmer's Instagram page, @gewhitmer.
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer received swag from Discovery's "Shark Week" after comments she made before her Monday DNC speech went viral. Photo courtesy of Gov. Whitmer's Instagram page, @gewhitmer. (WDIV)

“It’s not just Shark Week, it’s Shark Week mother------.”

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer was shown mouthing that phrase on live feed ahead of her Democratic National Convention speech Monday.

In response, Whitmer’s “friends” with the Discovery channel’s “Shark Week” have sent her some suitable swag, according to an Instagram post shared Saturday.

“Thank you to my friends at @sharkweek for the swag!” reads an Instagram post shared by Whitmer, where she is seen wearing a “Shark Week” t-shirt and holding a shark.

Whitmer’s “Shark Week” comments weren’t broadcast live on Monday, but rather were shown on a live feed of her speech before it started. The clip has since gone viral on social media.

In an interview Thursday on BuzzFeed’s News O’Clock podcast, Whitmer explained the backstory to her “Shark Week” comment.

Whitmer told News O’ Clock hosts Casey Rackham and Hayes Brown that she adopted the saying while she was preparing to run for governor.

During the interview, Whitmer said that she was inspired by a comedian opening for Kevin Hart at one of his comedy shows. The opening comedian reportedly spoke about female empowerment and how women are becoming more comfortable talking about their periods.

“Where women used to be demure, now, you know, if a woman is talking about menstruation she might say, ‘Well, it’s Shark Week, mother------,’” Whitmer said. “It’s funny and it’s about women’s empowerment, and it makes me smile. So I would write, ‘It’s Shark Week’ on top of my paper.

“I did not intend for it to get captured and get distributed,” Whitmer added.

The governor has since owned her now-viral comments, making jokes about it on social media this week.

On Tuesday, Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist tweeted:

To which Gov. Whitmer replied with a GIF of a shark swimming:

During Whitmer’s actual DNC speech Monday, the governor reminded viewers of the country’s last economic crisis -- the Great Recession -- and credited Biden, then the vice president, for joining with President Barack Obama to save the auto sector with a federal bailout. Those workers, she said, have helped more than a decade later to make protective equipment for doctors and nurses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Over the past few months, we learned what’s essential -- rising to the challenge, not denying it. We’ve learned who is essential, too,” the governor said, “not the just the wealthiest among us. Not a president who fights his fellow Americans rather than fight the virus that’s killing us and our economy. It’s the people who put their own health at risk to care for the rest of us.”

Watch Whitmer’s entire DNC speech below.


About the Authors:

Ken Haddad is the digital special projects manager for WDIV / ClickOnDetroit.com. He also authors the Morning Report Newsletter and various other newsletters. He's been with WDIV since 2013.