Norm Macdonald Apologizes for "Down Syndrome" Remark, Tries to Clarify Roseanne Barr, Louis C.K. Comments
The comedian appeared on 'The View,' where he opened up about his controversial statements about the comedians and the #MeToo movement, along with his canceled 'Tonight Show' interview.
Norm Macdonald is still saying sorry. One day after his Tonight Show interview was canceled due to controversial remarks he made in a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the comedian tried to clarify his comments during a Thursday morning appearance on The View.
Speaking with THR for a piece published on Tuesday, Macdonald — who was promoting his new Netflix series, Norm Macdonald Has a Show — spoke about the recent wave of victims coming forward who have said they suffered sexual abuse at the hands of powerful men in Hollywood. While on the topic, he also talked about his friends Chris Hardwick and Louis C.K., both of whom were accused of sexual assault
"Reporters, they ask questions and then they put them all together," Macdonald said on The View. "If 500 women go against a man, obviously the guy is guilty. But with Chris Hardwick, it was one woman against one man. So, I was saying that it was good … that Chris Hardwick has been rehabilitated as he's going to get. He still tells me he can't walk down the street without people yelling stuff at him. But that's all I was trying to say."
The View's Joy Behar told Macdonald that he raises a good question about "due process and verification," but said that the star lost her when he seemingly implied that the hardship C.K. experienced was equal to the hardship that his victims went though. "That doesn't compute," Behar said. "Can you explain yourself a little?"
Macdonald then tried to clarify. "That's not what I was saying. ... When Roseanne [Barr]'s thing went down and I called her the next day and she was crying the whole time I was talking to her. I've known Roseanne for a while and I was worried about her because she seemed really, really in a bad place," he recalled. "And I said, 'I can't really talk to you about this because I've never been through anything like this.'"
In his THR interview, Macdonald also shared support for Barr — who gave him his first job in Hollywood — while commenting on ABC's swift cancellation of her rebooted sitcom in response to a racist tweet posted about former Obama aide Valerie Jarrett.
Macdonald said that's when he told Barr that she should speak with C.K. "I said, 'I know Louis and he's been through this.' He's had everything taken from him. And I said, 'Not many of us have gone through this. So you should talk to each other,'" Macdonald continued. "And then [THR asked], 'Well, what about the victims?' And I said, 'Well, the victims haven't gone through this.' I was talking about this particular event. Of course, the victims have gone through worse than that. But what? Am I going to get a victim to phone Roseanne?"
Asked if Barr will make a comeback, Macdonald admitted, "I don't know if Roseanne could ever make a comeback." He also added that he is worried about the fallen sitcom star's well being: "I was really worried about Roseanne, and I don't want someone to end up killing themselves."
The panel also touched on Macdonald's controversial follow-up interview with Howard Stern, which aired on Wednesday, in which he said, "You'd have to have Down syndrome not to feel sorry for [#MeToo victims]."
"It's always bad when you have to apologize for the apology," Macdonald said, later adding that he chose to use the term "Down syndrome" instead of a "word we would all say to mean 'stupid,' that we don't say anymore.
"There is a thing on Howard where there's a recklessness in the studio," he said of the environment in which he made the offensive remark. "Stupidly, I was about to say that word and then I stopped and said, 'What's the right word to say?' And then I said a different word that was equally offensive. I realized in that moment that was something unforgivable."
He added: "The remark I made about people with Down syndrome was just a terrible, terrible thing for me to say."
Macdonald was also asked about his canceled Wednesday appearance on The Tonight Show, and also addressed host Jimmy Fallon's claim that staffers were crying because of Macdonald's presence on set. "I have been surprised because I never did anything. I spoke, but I don't want to be tossed in with people who actually did crimes, sins," he said, before joking, "I barely have consensual sex."
Prior to his Thursday interview on The View, Macdonald issued an apology via Twitter for his comments in the THR interview. "Roseanne and Louis have both been very good friends of mine for many years," he wrote on Tuesday. "They both made terrible mistakes and I would never defend their actions. If my words sounded like I was minimizing the pain that their victims feel to this day, I am deeply sorry."