Norm Macdonald Calls Down Syndrome Comment “Unforgivable”, Apologizes On ‘The View’


UPDATE with video A very contrite Norm Macdonald apologized on ABC’s The View today for what he called his “unforgivable” comment about Down syndrome on Howard Stern’s radio show yesterday.

“I realized at that moment I’d done something unforgivable,” Macdonald said about the Stern interview, during which he was attempting to explain previous comments about the #MeToo movement. (“You’d have to have Down syndrome to not feel sorry” for harassment victims, Macdonald told Stern.)

“It’s always bad when you have to apologize for the apology,” Macdonald said today, in one of the segment’s few lighter moments. The host of Netflix’s upcoming Norm Macdonald Has A Show mostly kept his eyes downcast, nervously popping Tic Tacs, as he recounted the moments leading up to the Down syndrome comment. (Check out a clip below.)

“There used to be a word we all used to say to mean ‘stupid’ that we don’t use anymore,” Macdonald said, “and stupidly I was about to say that word and then stopped and thought [about] what’s the right word to say.” Macdonald said as soon as he said Down syndrome, he knew he’d said “something unforgivable.”

Macdonald’s Stern interview was intended, in part, to explain his previous comments to the Hollywood Reporter that he was glad #MeToo has “slowed down a bit” and “There are very few people that have gone through what [Roseanne Barr and Louis C.K.] have, losing everything in a day. Of course, people will go, ‘What about the victims?’ But you know what? The victims didn’t have to go through that.”

Macdonald explained that comment on The View as well, providing context: He’d had a conversation with his longtime friend Barr, who was sobbing and distraught following the cancellation of Roseanne, and remembered telling her that he couldn’t “really talk” about her predicament because he’d never been through anything like it. (“I don’t know if Roseanne could ever make a comeback,” he said today.) He suggested she talk to his friend Louis C.K.

“I said, not many of us have gone through this and so you should talk to each other,” Macdonald said, adding that when the reporter asked about the victims, Macdonald responded that even they had not gone through this particular situation.

“Of course the victims have gone through much worse than that,” Macdonald said today.

Regarding the cancellation of his planned Tonight show appearance following the #MeToo comments, Macdonald said he was surprised when host Jimmy Fallon told him that staffers were crying over his appearance. “I don’t want to be tossed in with people who actually did, not crimes, but sins, you know?” he said. “I barely have consensual sex.”

When host Whoopi Goldberg brought up Macdonald’s upcoming Netflix show, Macdonald said he felt “a little weird,” in reference to plugging his latest project. He did say, though, that, at the early advice of Netflix’s Ted Sarandos, the talk show would avoid topical subjects so as not to “time stamp” the episodes. “That’s good,” he added, “because I don’t know anything topical.”

At the end of his segment, Macdonald said to the hosts, in all seriousness, “I hope I didn’t offend any of you guys.”

They assured  him he hadn’t, but after a commercial break Goldberg said that apparently some viewers didn’t agree.

“There are comments saying we were not angry enough or too easy on Norm,” Goldberg said, referring to social media response to the segment, then explained, “You learn a lot of stuff when you’ve stepped in enough poo. You learn that what people are trying to say is not what comes out of their mouth.”

She also answered another social media reaction: What was Macdonald eating during the segment?

“Tic Tacs,” said Goldberg, pointing to the table’s bowl of the candies. “Come on,” she said, “you think we’re going to keep a whole bunch of pills on the table? Come on…”


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