What was the Accusation?
Comedian and Actor Norm MacDonald (Dirty Work, Billy Madison) got himself into hot water on September 12th of 2018 as he toldThe Hollywood Reporter that he was happy the #MeToo movement has slowed down a bit. He also showed sympathy for disgraced comedian Louis C.K., who he claimed [lost] everything in a day after admitting he was guilty of sexual misconduct. MacDonald also said: “Of course, people will go, ‘What about the victims?’ But you know what? The victims didn’t have to go through [losing everything in a day]. After the backlash that naturally came from arguing Louis C.K. was as much a victim as the actual victim of the sexual assault, including a sudden cancellation of his scheduled appearance on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, MacDonald tried to explain his comments in an interview with Howard Stern: “I wish I never had to do an interview, especially a print interview, because they edit it and put it together and ask you questions that maybe you don’t want to answer…I’m a fu**ing dumb guy, I get confused and shit. They were asking me about a whole bunch of things at the same time.” MacDonald also tried to differentiate his comments from the worst possible interpretation by saying, “I said the victims went through worse [than Louis C.K.], but it wasn’t the same [as what he went through]. You’d have to have Down Syndrome to not feel sorry for [the victims of sexual misconduct]. #MeToo is what you want for your daughters. You want that to be the future world.” His attempt to explain what he meant by his initial comment may have gone over better with his critics if he hadn’t resorted to insulting people with disabilities, particularly those with Down Syndrome in his persuasive defense. Finally, MacDonald appeared on the View where talked about how miserable it is to have to apologize for your apology and acted as though he longed for the days when he could use the word he used to use for being stupid (also an offensive reference to people with disabilities).
Key Apologia Strategies:
Differentiation, Minimization, Denial, Mortification
Partial Transcript from The View Interview:
What I was talking about was Chris Hardwick, a particular comedian, a friend of mine. And if 500 women go against a man obviously the guy is guilty. In Chris Hardwick’s case, it’s one woman against one man. So I was saying I thought it was good Chris Hardwick is as rehabilitated as you can get. Yet he still tells me he can’t walk down the street without people yelling stuff at him.
Yeah, that’s not what I was saying, Macdonald said. When this went down with Roseanne I called her the next day and she was crying the whole time. I was worried about her. She seemed really in a bad place. I said, I can’t talk to you about this, I’ve never been through anything like this’ and I know Louis and he’s been through this and has had everything taken from him . you should talk. And [the reporter asked,] What about the victims?’ and I said, Well, the victims haven’t gone through this. This particular event. Of course, the victims have gone through worse than that. But am I going to get a victim to phone Roseanne?
It’s always bad when you have to apologize for the apology, Macdonald said. There used to be a word we would all say to mean stupid that we wouldn’t say any more. You know the word I’m talking about? Stupidly I was about to say that word and I stopped and [wondered] what the right word was to say, and I said a different word that was equally [offensive]. I realized at that moment I said something unforgivable. The remark I made about people with Down syndrome is terrible.
I have been surprised because I never did anything. I spoke. I don’t want to be tossed in with people who did, not crimes, but sins, he said. I barely have consensual sex.
The remark I made about people with Down syndrome was a terrible, terrible thing for me to say.
Partial Transcript of Interview with Howard Stern:
I wish I never had to do an interview, especially a print interview, because they edit it and put it together and ask you questions that maybe you don’t want to answer.”
“I never defended them. I am completely behind the #MeToo movement.”
“Jimmy [Fallon] comes to me … and he was like, ‘How should we play this?’ I said, ‘I think we should say it at the end because if you say it at the beginning, you can’t come back from that. And he said, ‘What am I supposed to ask?’ And I said, “Jimmy, I don’t exactly know.’ So he leaves. Then someone suggested I start the show with an apology, and I go, ‘It’s not my show.’ And Jimmy came back in and said, ‘Can I talk to you, buddy?’ He was very broken up about it. And he said, ‘I don’t know what to do. And I said, ‘Should I not do the show?’ And he said. ‘I don’t know. It’s just that I have so much pressure from so many people.’ He goes, ‘People are crying.’ And I say, ‘People are crying?!’ And he said, ‘Yeah. Senior producers are crying.’ And I said, ‘Good lord! Bring them in and let me talk to them. I don’t want to make people cry.’ So Jimmy said, ‘Come back whenever you want, but I think it will hurt the show tonight. And I said, ‘Jimmy, I don’t want to hurt your show. That is the last thing I want to do.'”
“I don’t like talking about politics, I find it boring. Everywhere I go, every conversation comes back to Trump and these issues and I’m like, ‘God damn, I just want to talk about how I have to wait three years to see Game of Thrones.’ I wish I never had to do an interview, especially a print interview, because they edit it and put it together and ask you questions that maybe you don’t want to answer. And they put things together that you’re saying €” and I’m a fu**ing dumb guy. I get confused.”
I said the victims went through worse [than Louis C.K.] but it wasn’t the same [as what he went through]. You’d have to have Down Syndrome to not feel sorry for [the victims of sexual misconduct]. #MeToo is what you want for your daughters. You want that to be the future world of course. And I meet all kinds of women with terrible stories of what’s happened to them. So, I wasn’t talking about the victims. They asked me about Roseanne.”