February 19th, 2010
06:31 PM ET
4 years ago

‘Family Guy’ actress defends portrayal that irked Palin

(CNN) - The actress who lent her voice to a character with Down syndrome on a recent episode of Fox's "Family Guy" is defending the portrayal against attacks from Sarah Palin.

Andrea Fay Friedman, the actress who herself has Down syndrome, said the scene was merely meant to be sarcastic.

"I guess former Governor Palin does not have a sense of humor," she said in an e-mail to the New York Times. "I thought the line 'I am the daughter of the former governor of Alaska' was very funny. I think the word is 'sarcasm.' In my family we think laughing is good. My parents raised me to have a sense of humor and to live a normal life."

In Sunday's episode, a teenaged female character with Down syndrome told another character that "my mom is the former governor of Alaska." A song and dance routine by another character also used language that ridiculed people with disabilities.

Palin, whose 22-month-old son, Trig, has the genetic disorder, said on her Facebook page Monday that she was too angry to offer a coherent response so she had her daughter, Bristol, release a full statement on the family's behalf.

"People are asking me to comment on yesterday's Fox show that felt like another kick in the gut," Palin, a Fox News contributor, wrote. "Bristol was one who asked what I thought of the show that mocked her baby brother, Trig (and/or others with special needs), in an episode yesterday. Instead of answering, I asked her what she thought. Here is her conscientious reply, which is a much more restrained and gracious statement than I want to make about an issue that begs the question, 'when is enough, enough?'"

Bristol Palin's statement was posted below her mother's Facebook entry, which read in part that the joke "hurt too much for us to remain silent."

"People with special needs face challenges that many of us will never confront, and yet they are some of the kindest and most loving people you'll ever meet," wrote Bristol. "Their lives are difficult enough as it is, so why would anyone want to make their lives more difficult by mocking them?"

Speaking to the New York Times, Friedman also said she did not view the joke as an insult.

"It's not really an insult. I was doing my role, I'm an actor. I'm entitled to say something. It was really funny. I was laughing at it. I had a nice time doing voiceover. It was my first time doing a voiceover, and I had fun," she said.


Filed under: Popular Posts • Sarah Palin
soundoff (314 Responses)
  1. JP

    Palin is worse than Nixon.

    February 19, 2010 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  2. Maggie

    Palin needs to get over it and stop being so thin skinned... she will do anything to keep her name in the spotlight...... everyone cracks a joke now and then.... the real tragedy would be if we acted upon them and out ancestors did .......... right now comedy rules and if she can't laugh at sarcasem then turn the TV off........ quit trying to change everyone into her own light..... she sounds more like Obama every day..... go home and take care of your family and stop being every where and no where...

    February 19, 2010 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  3. Mamanomia

    Palin..is a public person...she needs to learn how to deal with the public.

    February 19, 2010 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  4. Henry Wolf

    Sarcasm? Yeah, I bet thats what you would call it if Michelle Obama had a child with Downs syndrome. Ohhh, thats right – we would never see such a joke on TV if someone other Sarah Palin was the target. I have a better term for the "joke" – hypocrisy.

    February 19, 2010 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  5. Peter

    Is she having her daughter write the statement because she's so angry, or because she can't write a complete, coherent sentence on her own?

    February 19, 2010 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  6. Rob

    It is rare when I agree with Sarah Palin...It is outrageous. Interesting the news channel that caters to the conservatives broadcasts the most outlandish programs on broadcast television.... talk about LACK OF FAMILY VALUES....

    February 19, 2010 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  7. SouthernGirl

    The directors of Family Guy are smart! The actress from the episode actually has Down Syndrome and is not mocking people with this disorder. I cannot wait to hear what her response is to someone old enough to express THEIR feelings about actually living with Down Syndrome. Sarah Palin seems to think that she is the spokesperson for people who have this disorder...just trying to score political points.

    February 19, 2010 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  8. Terry, FL

    A low blow whichever way you look at it. Sarcasm? No, humour at the expense of others.

    February 19, 2010 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  9. Frank

    Sorry, there is no humor in making fun of someone with Down Syndrome. It is a sick & nasty attack which should not be tolerated by our society!

    I would hope the actress and Fox issues a formal apology to the Palin family.

    February 19, 2010 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  10. David Hanegraaf

    So now the Palin's are bashing disabled actors. Shame on them.

    February 19, 2010 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  11. bryan

    Tasteless is what it was no matter if you like Palin or not, and if you disagree I think you need to check yourself.

    February 19, 2010 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  12. Total BS

    Palin is a joke !!!

    February 19, 2010 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  13. Robert Lee

    So, there have it. Haha

    February 19, 2010 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  14. George Carlin

    Family Guy will be around alot longer then Palin's 15 minutes of fame. As a matter of fact her time is up. No one is scared of her, as a matter of fact we would love for her to run.

    February 19, 2010 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  15. Cooper

    Who cares about Palin. She was a nobody before the campaign and she is still a nobody. I know the media can find somebody or something else worthwhile to talk about. I would NEVER EVER vote for her. She can't even run a state, how can she run a country. I'm tired of hearing about her son. I know children with down syndrome, why is hers so special. Go get a life in Alaska.

    February 19, 2010 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  16. beth

    Gosh, Sarah must be angry a lot. She rarely gives coherent responses. I like this actress...too bad Sarah is so uptight. I'm forgetting that she is the'Church Lady'...maybe SNL should revive that character too in honor of her and her (to say it politely) dysfunctional family.

    February 19, 2010 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  17. Anonymous

    You have a "sick" sense of humor

    February 19, 2010 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  18. Anonymous

    Given that Palin was too angry to offer a coherent response over this, she must have had excessive rage during the '08 campaign.

    February 19, 2010 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  19. Steve

    Will Palin now come out and say something negative about THIS girl who has Down Syndrome? Or has she moved onto the Simpsons this week?

    February 19, 2010 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  20. Ken in NC

    Andrea Fay Friedman don't let Sarah Palin rain on your parade. She has problems of her own and simply doesn't understand it yet. Maybe one day she will grow up and realize she is not incharge of the world.

    February 19, 2010 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  21. melonhead

    The entire show itself is sick. Just another case of calling good evil and evil good. If it hurts someone so be it. Life has no value anymore, young folks now adays will not think twice about pulling a gun and taking a life. We just don't care anymore, we are the most selfish, self centered folks I know. GOD HELP US.

    February 19, 2010 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  22. Red

    "Palin, whose 22-month-old son, Trig, has the genetic disorder, said on her Facebook page Monday that she was too angry to offer a coherent response so she had her daughter, Bristol, release a full statement on the family's behalf."

    Translation: I would come out myself and say this, but Mr. Murdoch (yes, people Family Guy is brought to you by the makers of Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity) signs my checks, so I better find someone else to say it for me, very mavericky indeed Mrs. Palin

    February 19, 2010 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  23. Mo

    I don't like Palin and all that she stands for however, this was in poor taste. But let me say this, if you don't want your precious family on the joke chopping block get from in front of the camera. I would feel sorry but she does not care enough for her family to do what she can to protect them from the media. Statements are not enough she cannot tell me she does not know what a joke a lot of people are ready know she is.

    February 19, 2010 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  24. SocialismBad

    So this moronic actress thinks Down Syndrome is a valid subject of humor??? So it's OK to target the vulnerable in our society and make them the target of "humor". This nothing but a more subtle forming of bullying that can be very damaging to the person targeted. Maybe we can all just laugh at them until we drive them over the edge?

    People that think this is a valid use of "humor" are truly pathetic scum. In this case, it seems like this was done to attack and hurt Sarah Palin, at the expense of her son. Too many people that inhabit Hollywood are devoid of any human compassion, or BRAINS.

    February 19, 2010 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  25. dad

    I'm 39 and a father – that's important because there are things that we need to make sure our kids understand. It is NOT ok to ridicule others especially with disabilities and to call it sarcasm is just an excuse. I feel for those brought up in a family that would tolerate this. And to say it's just your job as an actor? Have some respect for yourself and turn down a role that degrades others. It is NOT ok, it is never ok. Though I'm a conservative I'm not a fan of Sarah Palin and do not think she should be in the white house. But, I am a fan of common decency and will always defend those that cannot defend themselves. Her son is off limits and you should know better.

    February 19, 2010 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
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