Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Jerry Lewis makes offensive comments....again

Comedian Jerry Lewis, long despised by disability rights groups for his patronizing, "pity party" MDA telethons, has once again made a slur against the gay community. In 2007 he used an anti-gay slur during the telecast of The Muscular Dystrophy Association's (MDA) Labor Day Telethon but finally apologized after the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) asked for a formal apology.

This time there's no indication from his spokesperson that he will comment or apologize after calling cricket "a fag game" Oct. 27.

In 1990, Lewis offended many in the disability community by indicating that he thought being disabled was being "half a person." Here's what he said in Parade magazine: ""I decided after 41 years of battling this curse that attacks children of all ages, I would put myself in that chair, that steel imprisonment that long has been deemed the dystrophic child's plight. I know the courage it takes to get on the court with other cripples and play wheelchair basketball, but I'm not as fortunate as they are. I'd like to play basketball like normal, healthy, vital and energetic people. I really don't want the substitute. I just can't half-do anything. When I sit back and think a little more rationally, I realize my life is half, so I must learn to do things halfway. I just have to learn to try to be good at being half a person."

Here's The Telegraph story about Lewis' latest gaffe:

American comic Jerry Lewis has caused outrage by suggesting cricket is a "fag game" during a trip to Australia.

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and the Australian Coalition for Equality have called for an apology after Mr Lewis, who is in Australia performing a stage show, made the remark and mimed swinging a cricket bat effeminately at a televised press conference.

It is not the first time the comedian, whose big break came as the slapstick half of a double act with Dean Martin, has created controversy. During a telethon last year for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, which he has presented since 1966, he pointed out one of the cameramen and called him an "illiterate fag". He immediately retracted the remark and later issued a full apology, saying that, "I obviously made a poor choice of words. Everyone who knows me understands that I hold no prejudices in this regard. In the family atmosphere of the telethon, I forgot that not everyone knows me that well."

He had already stunned an audience in 2000 by saying explaining his dislike of women working as comedians by saying: "I think of her as a producing machine that brings babies into the world." A decade earlier, he described those with muscular dystrophy as "being like half a person."

Lewis has also been awarded the Boston University School of Law's prestigious Neal Pike Prize for Service to the Handicapped and was inducted into the French Legion of Honour by decree of President Mitterand in 1984.

His spokeswoman in Australia, Julie Cavanagh, said that he did not intend to comment on this latest episode.