Actor and comedian Norm Macdonald has come under fire following his contentious statements on the #MeToo movement and the controversies surrounding Louis C.K. and Roseanne Barr.
The 58-year-old “Saturday Night Live” alum has a new talk show debuting on Netflix this week and sat down for an interview with The Hollywood Reporter ahead of its release. He weighed in on the #MeToo movement during the discussion, remarking that he was happy that it had “slowed down" slightly since capturing the zeitgeist of the last year.
“It used to be, ‘One hundred women can’t be lying.’ And then it became, ‘One woman can’t lie.’ And that became, ‘I believe all women.’ And then you’re like, ‘What?’ Like, that Chris Hardwick guy I really thought got the blunt end of the stick there,” he continued, referring to Hardwick’s brief removal from his position as host of “The Talking Dead” earlier this year over a viral blog post by his ex-girlfriend Chloe Dykstra. (Though the post contained painstaking details about Dykstra’s abusive relationship, it did not explicitly name Hardwick, who eventually returned to his role as host after AMC conducted a “careful review” of the allegations.)
Macdonald also lamented what he viewed as a lack of forgiveness within the industry.
“The model used to be: admit wrongdoing, show complete contrition and then we give you a second chance. Now it’s admit wrongdoing and you’re finished,” he said. “And so the only way to survive is to deny, deny, deny. That’s not healthy — that there is no forgiveness. I do think that at some point it will end with a completely innocent person of prominence sticking a gun in his head and ending it. That’s my guess.”
“I know a couple of people this has happened to,” Macdonald continued, referencing Louis C.K. and Roseanne Barr. Louis C.K. admitted to sexual misconduct late last year after The New York Times published a piece detailing the accusations of five women, while Barr’s Twitter tirade earlier this year — during which she compared former White House aide Valerie Jarrett, a black woman, to an ape — led to the cancellation (and then second revival, without her) of the “Roseanne” reboot.
Barr was so “broken up” after what happened that he got Louis C.K. to call her, Macdonald said, “even though Roseanne was very hard on Louis before that.”
“But she was just so broken and just crying constantly. There are very few people that have gone through what they have, losing everything in a day,” he continued. “Of course, people will go, ‘What about the victims?’ But you know what? The victims didn’t have to go through that.”
Louis C.K. and Barr had a “good conversation,” Macdonald said, and gave each other advice. He further lamented: “There would be no way for me to even understand that advice, because who has ever gone through such a thing? All their work in their entire life being wiped out in a single day, a moment.”
Macdonald's comments predictably ignited a flurry of backlash online.
"I can't get a Netflix special because I once had the audacity to share that a Netflix executive told me that because they had Chelsea Handler, they didn't need other women... Meanwhile, Norm Macdonald has a Netflix talk show....Double Standard? I think so..." comedian Kathy Griffin tweeted.
Macdonald delivered a statement on Tuesday via Twitter to apologize. He said he was “deeply sorry,” and attempted to clarify his interview comments.
“Roseanne and Louis have both been very good friends of mine for many years. They both made terrible mistakes and I would never defend their actions,” he wrote. “If my words sounded like I was minimizing the pain that their victims feel to this day, I am deeply sorry.”
Despite his apology, his controversial comments resulted in the cancellation of his scheduled appearance on Tuesday’s episode of “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” Variety reports.
NBC explained in a statement that the decision was made “out of sensitivity to our audience.”
[Photo: Norm McDonald performs during KAABOO Del Mar at Del Mar Fairgrounds on September 16, 2017 in Del Mar, California. ByTim Mosenfelder/Getty Images]