Norm Macdonald may want to consider the fine art of STFU.
The 58-year-old comedian dug himself into an even deeper hole on “The View” Thursday when he attempted to clarify his comment Wednesday to Howard Stern that “You’d have to have Down syndrome to not feel sorry” for victims of sexual abuse.
“There used to be a word we would all say to mean stupid that we don’t say anymore, right?” Macdonald explained on “The View.”
He added: “And stupidly, I was about to say that word and I stopped and said, ‘What’s the right word to say?’ and then I said a different word that was equally offensive.”
Macdonald was likely trying to avoid saying the word “retard(ed).” It’s a dehumanizing word that Special Olympics and Best Buddies International consider hate speech. According to their joint campaign, Spread the Word to End the Word, “it only reinforces painful stereotypes of people with intellectual disabilities being less valued members of humanity.”
Macdonald’s comments on “The View” suggest he was using the term “Down syndrome” to the same effect.
The former “Saturday Night Live” Weekend Update anchor has had quite a week in terms of sticking his foot in his mouth.
On Tuesday, The Hollywood Reporter printed an interview in which Macdonald made quite a few controversial statements, prompting “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” to cancel his scheduled appearance on Tuesday night.
While discussing his friends Louis C.K. and Roseanne Barr, whose careers have been marred by their sexual misconduct and racist remarks, respectively, Macdonald told THR that “There are very few people that have gone through what they have, losing everything in a day.”
“Of course, people will go, ‘What about the victims?’ But you know what? The victims didn’t have to go through that,” Macdonald said.
Many believed Macdonald was suggesting that the backlash to Barr and Louis C.K. was worse than sexual abuse itself. Prior to this statement, Macdonald had also spoken at length to THR about the Me Too movement and Chris Hardwick, whose ex-girlfriend accused him of sexual assault, expressing sympathy for Hardwick.
After posting an apology on Twitter, Macdonald went on Stern’s radio show to clarify his THR interview, but made matters even worse. “You’d have to have Down syndrome to not feel sorry” for those victims, he said.
Macdonald explained on “The View” that he’d told THR about having Louis C.K. call Barr after she was fired from ABC because they’d both experienced massive public backlash.
According to Macdonald, the reporter then asked him, “‘What about the victims?’ and I said, ‘Well, the victims haven’t gone through this.’ I was talking about this particular event,” he said. “Of course the victims have gone through worse than that, but – I’m gonna get a victim to call Roseanne?”
“That’s a good clarification,” Joy Behard said.
Too bad the one about Down syndrome was not.