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Jerry Lewis Apologizes for "Fag" Slur

After the clip of last night's telethon, in which comedian Jerry Lewis identified a member of the audience as "the illiterate fag", made its way to the internet this morning, there was an understandable objection as well as a statement from GLAAD calling on Lewis to apologize.

Jerry_lewis_2Lewis has done just that, in a statement "to anyone who was offended."

Said Lewis: "I obviously made a bad choice of words. Everyone who knows me understands that I hold no prejudices in this regard. The success of the (telethon) and all the good that will come from it shouldn't be lost because of one unfortunate word. I accept responsibility for what I said. There are no excuses. I am sorry."

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  1. Good for Jerry. I think, at his age, to have gone 18 hours like that is pretty amazing, I would have become incoherent much sooner... but then again, we're not so different.

    Posted by: Lia | Sep 4, 2007 6:01:33 PM

  2. And we finally get someone who apologizes and doesn't blame drugs, alcohol or jet lag.

    Kudos to Jerry Lewis.

    Posted by: Tread | Sep 4, 2007 6:20:54 PM

  3. It's kind of funny. Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis were the first gay duo in film history!

    Posted by: whatever | Sep 4, 2007 6:48:20 PM

  4. The statement was aimed at the cameraman. I thought, from the clip, it looked like he was talking about the other cameras, not anyone's actual family or even real people. Or perhaps he was talking about the other cameramen, but I'm not sure "...identified a member of the audience..." is accurate.

    Posted by: Rich | Sep 4, 2007 6:54:07 PM

  5. All the work he's done for others, I don't need an apology!

    Posted by: Zeke | Sep 4, 2007 7:05:43 PM

  6. I'm glad he apologized.

    However I really hate the "to anyone who was offended" line. It infers that the apology is to those overly sensitive people out there who take things too seriously.

    I'm also curious about the oft repeated lines like "that isn't me" or, "I made a bad choice of words but it isn't a word that's part of my vocabulary" or, "anyone who knows me knows that I hold no prejudices in that regard".

    I really don't understand how that works.

    Does any understand why it is that people who never use certain slurs, without provocation, use those certain slurs and why people who aren't "like that" are like that?

    It's very curious to me.

    Posted by: Zeke | Sep 4, 2007 7:09:17 PM

  7. Once again, there are two different Zeke's posting here.

    Posted by: Zeke | Sep 4, 2007 7:12:39 PM

  8. I can appreciate his commitment to his causes and the work he has done for others. That doesn't give him a free pass to say this kind of shit. His apology is weak, but I wouldn't make an issue of it.

    Posted by: db | Sep 4, 2007 7:19:15 PM

  9. Now there are three. Will the real Zeke please stand up?

    Posted by: Zeke | Sep 4, 2007 7:32:05 PM

  10. He said Faggot the way I bet 99 percent of us do ... just slipped out ... and he apologized ... a great man.

    Posted by: rjp3 | Sep 4, 2007 7:35:25 PM

  11. "And we finally get someone who apologizes and doesn't blame drugs, alcohol or jet lag."

    Or black people.

    Posted by: DCN | Sep 4, 2007 7:36:39 PM

  12. i was going to say "now that's how you apologize", and then i read zeke's comment, and he's bang on. how does that work, when you say jews start wars and fag this and nigger that, then excuse yourself as "not that way".

    it's like farting and then saying i never do that. whatever, kinda.

    Posted by: brad | Sep 4, 2007 7:38:45 PM

  13. Wait, what the hell am I talking about? That has absolutely nothing to do with this.

    Posted by: DCN | Sep 4, 2007 7:40:02 PM

  14. What kind of people do you hang out with RPJ3?

    99% of us? Who is us?

    Speak for yourself.

    Posted by: Zeke | Sep 4, 2007 8:44:45 PM

  15. I guess we'd need to see the actual press release, but when I read it, I took the comments as the actual text of the apology, and the "anyone who was offended" more as the "TO" line on a memorandum. It doesn't read the same as the typical "if anyone took offense, I'm sorry" thing people usually give.

    Posted by: Scott/Zeke | Sep 4, 2007 8:56:49 PM

  16. This is exactly how I took this when I first heard about it. Jerry has never shown any signs of being homophobic previously. I knew he was just trying to be funny by saying something shocking. It reminds me of when Andy Dick got in trouble mocking Michael Richards' racist tirade. People who are familiar enough with Andy's humor know he was just making fun of how insane Richards was, but those less familiar with Andy just took it at face value. So even though he apologized, even today there are probably people who think Andy's a racist.

    Posted by: Johnny | Sep 4, 2007 10:08:37 PM

  17. I LOVE it! All these fucking apologists need to fucking choke! I don't want to even imagine the bile that would spew forth had the "wrong" person said this. Asshats!

    Posted by: Jason | Sep 4, 2007 10:24:44 PM

  18. Jerry or anyone else is free to call me a faggot, as long as they're not homophobic, and only mean it in a joking and friendly way. That was the spirit of the politically incorrect humor of the Rat Pack, Sammy was their friend, so the racist jokes didn't resonate the same way they normally would've, because they were coming from friends. The joke was not the racism itself, it was the absurdity of saying something hateful about a close friend. It's acknowledging the elephant in the room, the hatred of your minority group, and then mocking it as a form of bonding.

    Posted by: Johnny | Sep 4, 2007 10:50:54 PM

  19. His apology is he did say it about a camera and not an audience member so thats pretty odd that people are getting worked up about the sexual preferance of a TV camera.
    Boy I bet those illiterate folk are begging for some apple poly logies too!

    I'm glad he apologized so all the gay cameras in the world can be at ease.

    Posted by: Gavin Elster | Sep 4, 2007 11:35:07 PM

  20. I accept his apology.

    I also like the way he screams, "Hey Lady!"

    Posted by: Gay Camera | Sep 4, 2007 11:47:56 PM

  21. Isn't anyone else amazed that after the Isaiah Washington fiasco, that people in/on television would know better and get THAT word out of their vocabulary??

    Just sayin

    Posted by: stephen | Sep 5, 2007 12:06:23 AM

  22. Just repeating what others here have already said -- but I think it was big of Jerry Lewis to apologize, to apologize so quickly, and to say "There are no excuses." His apology makes the other half-apologies and fake apologies we've seen in recent months from celebrities and politicians look like the BS that they are.

    Posted by: Frank L | Sep 5, 2007 1:23:43 AM

  23. some apology. go fuck urself

    Posted by: r | Sep 5, 2007 4:03:04 AM

  24. Apologizing is going to start having a "cry wolf" quality pretty soon.

    "Ooops, I called someone faggot. I'm sorry."
    "Ooops, I called that woman a whore. I'm sorry."
    "Oooops, I called that man a fat pig. I'm sorry."

    It's going to be the excuse to say whatever slips out without thinking. I don't care if Jerry Lewis is old, or had been on television for a week straight. Like he said, there are no excuses, and he's old enough to know better in the first place.

    Posted by: Shawn | Sep 5, 2007 6:03:12 AM

  25. I'm still of the opinion that this word... as well as "queer"... won't go away as long as we as a community continue to use it. I've never understood the idea of "reclaiming" a word. It's an offensive word and if you don't want "them" to use it, then we shouldn't either.

    As for Mr. Lewis, he made a mistake and apologized. As long as he leaves it at that (unlike some others), then I'm willing to forget it.

    Posted by: Dean | Sep 5, 2007 7:38:35 AM

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