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Jerry Lewis Criticized For Homophobic Remark During Telethon

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Ian David Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-05-07 10:26 AM
Original message
Jerry Lewis Criticized For Homophobic Remark During Telethon
Jerry Lewis Criticized For Homophobic Remark During Telethon

(New York City) Jerry Lewis dropped an anti-gay slur - the same one that got Isaiah Washington of "Grey's Anatomy" in trouble - during the 18th hour of his annual Labor Day telethon.

He apologized Tuesday for a "bad choice of words."

The 81-year-old showman - prowling about the stage during the live telecast Monday in Las Vegas - was goofing around and dodging his cameraman, then went into a ramble about imaginary family members.

"Oh, your family has come to see you," he said, speaking to the camera and gesturing toward thin air.

"You remember Bart, your older son," he said, and motioning toward another unseen character, "Jesse, the illiterate f-----.

More:
http://www.365gay.com/Newscon07/09/090407lewis.htm

Maybe he was going to say "Flavin"? n/t
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poverlay Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-05-07 10:35 AM
Response to Original message
1. Jerry is not homophobic. He is a great comedian who has dedicated most of his life to helping sick
kids. More than most here, or anywhere, can say.

I, for one, decline to throw stones.

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Ian David Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-05-07 10:40 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. I wouldn't want to be held resposnible for what I say after about 24 hours without sleep. n/t
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Divine Discontent Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-05-07 11:06 AM
Response to Reply #1
3. I tried to make that argument too.
in another thread where the attacks on Lewis were going rampant, and you make my argument here - he is an aged comedian - people cannot take his joking for serious - he is bawdy. saying that - he realizes he shouldn't have said that. end of story for me.
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Ayesha Donating Member (587 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-05-07 11:33 AM
Response to Original message
4. Jerry Lewis is a bigot
who has made countless offensive and condescending remarks against people with disabilities. He has raised money for research, but he has contributed far more to the prejudice in society that keeps us from being treated as full human beings who deserve rights to housing, employment, transportation, and health care. We are not in need of charity. We are in need of RESPECT, so that we can access society's amenities ourselves rather than depending on someone else to feel sad for the poor little cripples* and send $20 once a year.

I don't know if he is a homophobe, but he is clearly, unambiguously a bigot against the very people he is supposedly helping.

* Jerry's words, not mine!
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Ian David Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-05-07 12:13 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. I don't know enough about his record to be willing to throw him under the bus just yet.
Please feel free to enlighten me.

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poverlay Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-05-07 06:42 PM
Response to Reply #4
8. I think you've unjustly attacked a person who has done far, far more than you
to help those in need. Those hundreds of millions of dollars brought about by his life of work are useless because he unintentionally offended you? That's ridiculous. My kids are far more interested in summer camp than what you find offensive. A hoyer lift, wheelchair ramp, or a breathing machine are an order of magnitude more useful than your inane version of respect. I define myself. Not you and not Jerry. So it doesn't matter to me if he offends you in the process of helping me. Maybe you don't need the help, some clearly do.
Jerry's comments were obviously never intended to offend. However, if it makes you feel better, by all means, be offended.


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NMMNG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-05-07 06:51 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. So if Jerry had made a crass comment about
disabled people you'd find it ok. After all, he's done so much good for them. :shrug:


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poverlay Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-05-07 08:18 PM
Response to Reply #9
11. If it was a joke yes. If he apologized yes. If it was not aimed to hurt yes. Some of us
are grownup enough to realize that everyone makes mistakes. Some of us can forgive an obvious mistake or unintentional slight.
Then again some of you can't... :freak:
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NMMNG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-06-07 11:05 AM
Response to Reply #11
19. Hmmmm.
Sounds an awful lot like the Fundie meme. Sin and treat people like crap all week. Go to church and ask for forgiveness. Get absolved. Repeat.

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poverlay Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-06-07 12:19 PM
Response to Reply #19
20. Well, you've certainly offended me. Your apparent goal, or you wouldn't have called me a "fundie".

Allow me to bend over backwards to explain that which you should have figured out for yourself:
Of course I am not saying that.
I'm simply saying I find it highly unlikely that Mr. Lewis was intending offense. He obviously felt bad, and immediately apologized when it became clear that people like you were going to assume a malicious intent, and has not(that I know of) attempted to "repeat".

You go ahead and revel in your offended sensibilities all you like. That's your right. I'd like to give him the benefit of the doubt. I too often say things that could be taken the wrong way by those seeking offense, and know what an awful feeling it is.

I think there are more important, truly hateful, fundies to fry.

Not to mention friends and allies to try and understand. I guess as a several year member of DU, I thought I was such. Apparently not in your estimation. Be assured I wouldn't have treated you in such a way.

Good bye and good luck~

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NMMNG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-06-07 12:30 PM
Response to Reply #20
21. I didn't call you a fundie
I merely likened your claim that apologizing makes everything A-OK to the fundie notion that asking God for forgiveness makes everything A-OK (and then you can go back to doing all the bad stuff you want, only to ask forgiveness again, then repeat the process).



People who don't have ingrained bigotries don't just call people f*****s off the cuff. I don't think Jerry just had a "slip of the tongue" (other than the fact that this one was on camera, and previous ones weren't), and I think his apology was for show.

Yes, he's done lots of good. That doesn't negate the fact that he's a bigot.
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poverlay Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-06-07 03:11 PM
Response to Reply #21
22. So you want me to draw a distinction that you won't? That's hilariously ironic. -n/t
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Ayesha Donating Member (587 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-05-07 10:13 PM
Response to Reply #8
13. His views on disabled people are bigoted
Edited on Wed Sep-05-07 10:17 PM by Ayesha
I don't know if he's a homophobe or if it was unintentional, but I do know that he has no respect for the rights, autonomy, and full humanity of people with disabilities. See links:

http://www.ragged-edge-mag.com/extra/jerrylewis052401.h...

http://www.cripcommentary.com/jlquotes.html

http://blogcritics.org/archives/2006/09/03/103408.php

http://blogcritics.org/archives/2006/09/03/113347.php

http://blogcritics.org/archives/2006/09/03/123854.php

And that's just for starters!

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poverlay Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-06-07 01:39 AM
Response to Reply #13
15. Wow, talk about looking a gift horse in the mouth. Really a very lacking collection of
anecdotes that in no way make a clear connection to Jerry Lewis' supposed "bigotry" and lack of "respect for the rights, autonomy, and full humanity of people with disabilities". Merriam Webster defines bigotry as: "A person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance."
What Jerry has done is in fact exactly the opposite of "hatred and intolerance". What he has done for MDA in the last 40 years is not the way any sane person goes about his own aggrandizement. Your arguments and those of the authors cited above fall shamefully short of proving Jerry Lewis is a bigot.

Pity is a natural human reaction. Just because you don't like it doesn't make it an evil attribute or motivation. Nor does it deny the "full humanity of people with disabilities". It certainly doesn't prove that Mr. Lewis has no respect for people he has oddly enough spent 40+ years trying to help. Really, what sort of psychopath would work so hard on behalf of people he doesn't respect?
Lewis' work has put the cause of m.d. and other related syndromes decades ahead of where they would otherwise be. He has touched so many lives positively that the bitterness forwarded by you and those few like you is only a small (sad) drop of spit at the ocean of love, selflessness, caring, education and hope that Jerry has helped create to battle this horrible disease. Like I said before: Think whatever makes you happy. I'll do the same. In the meantime, I'm going to need far, far more than you have heretofore provided to convince me that Jerry Lewis is bigoted towards the disabled...
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Ayesha Donating Member (587 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-06-07 05:14 AM
Response to Reply #15
17. To me
saying "You don't want to be pitied for being a cripple in a wheelchair? Stay in your house!" is at least as offensive, if not more so, than being called a fag (or in my case, dyke.) Not to mention his references to people with disabilities being "half a person," saying wheelchair sports are inferior, and calling a woman in a wheelchair a "living waterbed." He talks about his "kids" - that right there is offensive as many people with forms of MD are adults. The language he and others on the telethon use - crippled, afflicted, confined to a wheelchair, imprisoned - is the stuff of 40 years ago, and highly offensive. I don't care if it brings in the $, the ends do not justify the means. When I wheel into a job interview, those are not the images I want in my potential employer's head. Would you hire a wheelchair-bound cripple afflicted with cerebral palsy (my disability)? Doesn't exactly put forth an image of confidence and capability, does it. People with disabilities have a 70% unemployment rate, and ol' Jerry helps perpetuate the attitudes that keep it that way.

You can't pity someone and also respect them. You can have COMPASSION for someone you respect, but not pity. Pity means seeing a person as less than you, as helpless, as incapable. Pity is condescending, it is offensive, and I and many other people with disabilities fight it tooth and nail.

Another column that illustrates my larger point regarding the telethon very well:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/20...
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poverlay Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-06-07 10:34 AM
Response to Reply #17
18. Yes you can pity someone and respect them. The premise that says otherwise is flawed. Pity
is a feeling. A good and necessary one. The disabled despise it because it constantly illustrates their situation, and no one likes to be reminded of what hurts them. Your characterization of pity is an extreme and rare example that cannot fairly be applied across the spectrum. I can think of legion examples wherein I pitied someone and respected them at the same time. Jerry may make you uncomfortable with his "references", but they are clearly designed to elicit pity and thereby money(His job.) (At no point is there the least intimation that Jerry thinks the disabled are less important or intelligent, quite the opposite in fact.). Money which is necessary to someday, hopefully, removing the entire underpinnings for this argument. No, I'm not arguing ends/means, I'm arguing for an understanding and appreciation which you demand, but refuse to apply. Don't at any point get the idea that I'm enamored of some of Jerry's more gauche statements. The man is certainly not the pinnacle of sensitive, but neither is he worthy of tar and feathering. He certainly has loved and been loved, and shown some amazing generosity and resilience in the face of mountainous odds.

Yes, I would definitely hire "a wheelchair-bound cripple afflicted with cerebral palsy" if they were able to show competence at the position they were applying for. I would not, however, hire them if they had a chip on their shoulder and became offended every time someone attempted to help them or displayed an ignorance of their condition. In fact one of my employees with massive problems (A man named Al who had so many problems I can't even begin to go into them. Suffice it to explain that he stepped on a land mine in Vietnam and survived.), was one of the finest people and workers I've ever known. I certainly pitied him, but to this day(He's since passed.) I look up to him in a way I look up to few people other than my parents. He was smarter and a far harder worker than I could ever be.

Sorry about the digression, but I'm going to stick with my point that pity does not equal bigotry and is not automatically a negative or undesirable thing. I know from personal experience and observation that it does not signify a lack of respect either.
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bliss_eternal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-06-07 06:37 PM
Response to Reply #18
24. self delete.
Edited on Thu Sep-06-07 06:38 PM by bliss_eternal
.
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Omaha Steve Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-05-07 05:53 PM
Response to Original message
6. About discrimination....

I don't think a Jew like Jerry would know or understand it at all.

:-)

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Smarmie Doofus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-05-07 06:41 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. Mmm. Right. Not Isaiah Washington either. nt
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idgiehkt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-05-07 08:01 PM
Response to Original message
10. I saw him say something incredibly nasty to someone once
on tv, I can't remember who it was, but it was a sexist remark. It left me with the distinct impression that he is Not A Nice Person. Irrespective of what good he has done for those with disabilities.
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bliss_eternal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-06-07 06:50 PM
Response to Reply #10
25. Maybe it was his comments...
...that women aren't funny (his sexism against women comedians). He's not a nice person. Never has been. All these comments about his fund raising mean nothing. It has nothing to do with whether the man is a bigot, sexist or anything else. It's just people's way of being dismissive and of avoiding the real issue.

People come to these boards everyday to complain about gw and how horrible it is to live under his regime, as a middle class person, etc., etc. But when anyone reminds them that he declared war on an entire segment of our population(glbt) all we hear is,"lalalalala, I'm not listening." :shrug:



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idgiehkt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-06-07 09:42 PM
Response to Reply #25
26. no, it was something ruder than that
something vile, on tv, but I can't remember what. All of that whole generation are elitist at heart it seems, the rat pack, the smothers brothers, late night tv hosts, la la la...there isn't one of that lot that don't come off somehow with the mindset of that generation being really elitist as if the word really was made for caucasian hetero non-females, and the rest of us are interlopers they are tolerating. I'll be glad to see that set die off.
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bliss_eternal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-06-07 10:38 PM
Response to Reply #26
27. I wish I could say I'm surprised....
...but I'm not. But I'm sincrely curious what else he had disgusting comments about. I recalled his anti-woman crap and that just blew my mind. I've also heard him talk shit about his sons publicly, as if they weren't worthy of any respect or privacy. Just disgusting.

Which is part of why I'll never understand people on internet boards, more specifically members here. They defend people like him, in the face of repellant behavior, as if they know them personally. He could be Charles Manson in his spare time and they would STILL find a way to defend him. :eyes:

Very astute observations on your part, btw. I totally agree with you. The world was so ass backward then, yet Lewis and his gang had money, status and some power as entertainers. It gave them an elevated sense of self. No one spoke of gays. Women were wives, mothers and playthings. People of color were their domestics.

Watching their old rat pack crap makes me want to spew.
Sammy Davis jr. was frequently the butt of their jokes--his eye, ethnicity or height.
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Siyahamba Donating Member (890 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-05-07 08:24 PM
Response to Original message
12. If he had said "the c-word" or "the n-word"
I don't know if people would be letting it slide like this.
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Smarmie Doofus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-05-07 10:16 PM
Response to Reply #12
14. In the case of 'the n-word', of course not. Can you give...
...me a little hint about what 'the c-word' is?

And perhaps... for the sake of clarity,if nothing else ... we could consider getting past the hyphenating of the objectionable racial/ethnic/sexual epithets?

We're all grown ups here: directly quoting an epithet used by another does not imply approval or even toleration of said epithet.
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poverlay Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-06-07 03:38 AM
Response to Reply #14
16. ooh, I know I know... is it "cranky", "cooty", or "carbuncle"? No? damn Oh well I"m out. nO tEXT
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bliss_eternal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-06-07 06:35 PM
Response to Reply #14
23. Respectfully--no it does not...
Edited on Thu Sep-06-07 06:56 PM by bliss_eternal
..imply approval of said epithet.
But it could be said it's grossly insensitive to those that slurs are used about.

What's wrong with exercising a little common courtesy and erring on the side of caution? Why assume others shares your view on the issue? Perhaps seeing others as adults AND human beings with feelings is a consideration more of us could take the time to consider.
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