December 15th, 2008
01:02 PM ET
9 years ago

Paterson's office says SNL went too far


CNN's Alina Cho reports Gov. Paterson is unhappy with how SNL portrayed him.

(CNN) - New York Gov. David Paterson's office says Saturday Night Live went too far in its portrayal of the legally blind governor over the weekend.

SNL, famous for mocking politicians and newsmakers, portrayed the governor in a four-minute "Weekend Update" segment as confused and disoriented - often looking in the wrong direction and mistakenly walking in front of the camera when it was not his turn to speak.

SNL's version of the governor, played by cast member Fred Armisen, also refers to using cocaine and says he became governor of New York due to a "sex scandal I was miraculously not at the center of.”

A spokesman for Paterson, who became governor of New York last spring after then-Gov Eliot Spitzer was forced to resign amid a sex scandal, suggested the skit was offensive to all people with physical disabilities.

"The governor engages in humor all the time, and he can certainly take a joke,” said Risa Heller, Paterson's communications director. “However, this particular Saturday Night Live skit unfortunately chose to ridicule people with physical disabilities and imply that disabled people are incapable of having jobs with serious responsibilities.

“The governor is sure that ‘Saturday Night Live’ with all of its talent can find a way to be funny without being offensive,” she also said.

Paterson has said he is completely blind in his left eye and has limited vision in his right eye. He is the first legally blind man to be governor.

Full story

Filed under: David Paterson
soundoff (366 Responses)
  1. JM

    Just like the Dems the blind leading the blind. Literally and figuratively. Making fun of someone's physical disabilities is not ok. But I need to ask where everyone was when SNL and the Obama campaign were making fun of McCain for his disabilities that were a result of being tortured while serving this country.

    December 15, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  2. Joey

    I hope PE Obama does not have the same Secret Service that was supposed to protect Bush during that Iraq interview session. Those fools waited til after the second shoe was tossed to take action and even then they didn't seem to aggressive. That shoe could have easily been a hatch thrown at Bush.

    December 15, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  3. Apples for sale

    Being Stupid is a mental handicap,people take advantage of the stupid everyday.They believe all the lies they are told and follow leaders that dont have a clue.They post comments on here even when they dont have any idea what they are talking about daily.

    December 15, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |

    I didnt watch it but no one is safe when it comes to SNL...thats what kind of show it is

    December 15, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  5. cutiekat

    It's only not funny when they make fun of you or someone in your "group" of people (race, religion, disability etc)! kind of like south park and chef. Grow up! and to the person who will boycott until there is an apology-maybe you shouldn't be watching this show if you can't take a joke!

    December 15, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  6. purple mountains

    i don't watch snl anymore, it sounds like i'm not missing a thing. God Bless all of America, especially our handicaped.

    December 15, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |

    The blind part doesn't upset me but when SNL wants to say he is unqualified and stupid that is bad humor. Patterson is very bright and has to work harded than a person that can see to accomplish a goal.

    December 15, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  8. Kimberly in AZ

    I totally agree, I was sickened by the skit. It was in very bad taste, and I really feel they have this idea now after the palin stuff that they dont have to answer to anyone. I think it was disgusting! I am all for free speech and all that, but to make fun of someone who is blind, he should be ashamed of himself. Palin is a complete IDIOT, but she is not handicap so its not even a remote closeness!!! NOT funny!

    December 15, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  9. Alanis Morissette

    To Marshall:

    Your response is an irony overload.

    December 15, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  10. DX in TX

    To: Joanne, I have a clue for sale, you should buy it. You cannot compare a person's disability to mocking Sarah Palin. Let's be real everything about Sarah Palin is a joke waiting to happen. The way she talks is funny. She hunts moose, funny! She can see Russia from her backyard, funny. Preaching abstinance while her daughter is having sex out of wedlock, funny, funny, funny.
    Picking on blind people...not so funny!

    December 15, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  11. Liz - Alabama

    I just can't stand the double standard of liberal media. Where were you whiners when our beloved Sarah Palin was treated like an idiot by SNL? May be she was little slow. Do make fun of challenged people?
    I agree she could not string words together and create a sentence. Do you make fun of an illiterate? May be she does not know Mexico from Canada. So What? One is on the top and the other is on the bottom. That is all you need to know. Bush did not know much. But he was great!

    Do not mock average people. That is offensive.

    When a beauty queen becomes politician, something has to be scarficed. What do you want? Do you want a hot VP who knows how milk a cow or an elite who knows where Georgia is? Sarah can look at the Bible and learn everything she needs to know. Can Biden become hot?

    December 15, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  12. Bubba

    Now I don't wanna discriminate against the handicapped here, but let's just get this out of the way: that skit was LAME.

    December 15, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  13. AK

    Where was all this outrage when SNL parodied Gov Palins baby that has Down syndrome; implying incest among other things that were flat not true?

    December 15, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  14. G

    Well the skit is stupid to say the least and to marshall no one asked you to care about them remember it was your country who went into their country not the other way around. As far as I am concern they have been telling you not to care for them for years but you won't just leave them alone.

    December 15, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  15. Ryan

    I'm sorry, but where in that skit did SNL i"mply that disabled people are incapable of having jobs with serious responsibilities?"

    I hate when these sorts of things happen, it turns people that I normally agree with into oversensitive whiners. Just like the Obama New Yorker cover that everyone was outraged about. It's humor, get over it.

    December 15, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  16. Tom in Delaware

    As far as the comments about Bush and the 'shoe' incident goes, I'll cite to you the words on my favorite T-shirt..."George Bush -Love him or Hate him...He's killed a ton of Arabs."

    But what the hell...anything goes these days.

    Nobody cried foul when Todd Palin was depicted as committing incest with his bet'cha.

    December 15, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  17. KenStarr

    I found it hilarious when they said that in Muslim culture throwing a show at someone is an insult. Here in the US, if someone threw a shoe at me, I would find that insulting too.

    December 15, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  18. b Stanley

    Most blind people would never hold a sign upside down, look in the wrong direction while talkin or walk stupidly (because they develope other senses that help them) so I believe SNL did cross the line making fum of the Govenor being blind, but not so in the other part of the skit. But, don't hold your breath for an apology, because this arrogent bunch of show people know nothing about being humble.

    December 15, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  19. Mary

    It was HIALRIOUS!! Thank you SNL.

    December 15, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  20. paul (staunch Moderate)

    I'm a disabled person – and I did not find it offensive at all. Come on, people, lighten up! When you put yourself into the public eye, whether it is in politics or entertainment, you open yourself up to this type of comedy.

    SNL is certainly not at the top of its game – not by a long shot – but we cannot continue to pummel & smother our comedians with this barrage of political correctness.

    December 15, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  21. Stewart--San Francisco-Eastbay

    Very good article!! Ridiculing people with physical disabilities is really in poor taste and hitting "below the belt."

    SNL loses points with me on this one!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    December 15, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  22. random comment

    If you disagree with and want to make fun of his POLICIES, that's one thing... but making fun of physical disabilities really isn't the way to go.

    December 15, 2008 11:26 am at 11:26 am |

    Come on dems friends!!! Let's not be too stuffy.

    I am waiting with expectation a shoe-show (doesn't matter if size 10 or other sizes) this coming saturday....:-)

    December 15, 2008 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  24. Christine

    SNL hit an all time low. The skit made me uncomfortable and I switched channels. Maybe Tina Fey should be hired to write their skits because without her or Amy Poehler SNL can now be renamed the Titanic.

    December 15, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  25. Liane

    Almost as bad as telling someone ina wheelchair to stand up

    December 15, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
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