February 19th, 2010
06:31 PM ET
5 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. JDD

    "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.

    But the mother, and sibblings of the person portrayed said that it was an insult. That it wasn't funny. That it wasn't fun.

    CNN, care to release the lyrics to that funny, harmless song that, in your own words, "riduculed people with disabilities."?

    February 19, 2010 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  2. Stop the Nonsense

    Palin has nothing to say so she tries to make news. I hope Miss Freidman's comments come back to bite Miss Sarah where it should
    Sarah Palin does not own the platform the the disabled. Not allofthem agree with her – poor me stance and that they don't enjoy life and a good joke.
    Miss Freidman's portrayal in my opinion was impowering the character- not very funny , but she took control of the dat putting her male escort in check for his lack of social skills.
    As usual- Sarah- please shut up.

    February 19, 2010 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  3. scott

    I'm sure now Sarah Palin will now say that the show was taking advantage of this actress. Or they are evil. Or they are attacking her. Or something else self serving unsupported by reality. You know, what we expect from Sarah Palin whenever she opens her mouth.

    February 19, 2010 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  4. Babs

    If you are offended by the show, don't watch it. It is that simple. She can attack the show all she wants. The actress doesn't appear to be of less intelligence based on her comments. I feel Palin is being the offensive one by portraying the American people as being stupid themselves. I realize it is sarcasim and watch the TV show. It is a Show. I don't go around making fun of those with down syndrome and know many people that are mentally and physically challenged.

    She needs to get over herself and stop trying to tell the American people what to think, watch, say, do..etc.

    February 19, 2010 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  5. DandyD

    More much ado about nothing. This world, in general, is a sad and pitiful place.

    February 19, 2010 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  6. james

    Palin is a double standard dumb lady! (Well so are the GOP!)

    Here they allow their kids to play video games that kill, crush, wound others...they Hunt with guns....yet a CARTOON makes them upset!

    Hypocrits that what republicans are!

    February 19, 2010 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  7. Mr. Man

    Go Andrea Friedman !!! Palin's cynical "holier than thiou" rhetoric needs responses like yours.

    February 19, 2010 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  8. Tram

    If Palin is so angry that she can't make a coherent response (like that's something new) against a cartoon character, how in the world would anyone believe she could handle herself against real people who threaten the security of our country? By those who make real threats against us?

    However, I don't support mocking a child, but Family Guy and Southpark are equal opportunity mockers. They mock everyone. There's no bias, no preferences, no one is safe from their mockery. In that sense, they are showing an extreme fairness. Okay, it's not politically correct, but so what? They're not singling out a single person or group. They tackle everybody!

    Too bad this isn't equivalent to Dan Quayle and the Murphy Brown incident. That one was VERY amusing. I loved the way Murphy Brown got even with Dan Quayle on the show.

    February 19, 2010 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  9. Darth Cheney

    Sarah may or may not have a sense of humor, but she does have an innate gift for identifying anything she can grab a hold of to inflame her faux outrage and provoke her rabid followers into a paranoid frenzy. The key to understanding her is to understand the fear and hatred of her followers.

    February 19, 2010 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  10. Smart Girl

    Andrea, you are my hero. Once again Palin looks for attention by sticking he foot in her mouth..

    February 19, 2010 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  11. laughing @ this

    This is hilarious! I don't have a clue how Sarah Palin is going to respond to this. You know I have a son with Down Syndrome as well and based on that episode, you know they weren't making fun of her son. They were only making fun of her. That's what upset her, the fact that they're making fun of her. I like that this actress has Down Syndrome and was able to respond herself. I can't wait to see what Palin's response will be. This will definitely be interesting to watch.

    February 19, 2010 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  12. debbie

    My son was autistic. Yet I didn't go around making hay of it like Palin does with "Trig".

    February 19, 2010 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  13. Katherine

    I think persons with disabilities have a sense of humor too, so Sarah Palin better work on her humor. She needs to learn to come back with some rebuttals if she expects to run for President of the United States. If she runs though, then I'm running! ha!

    February 19, 2010 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  14. If I was crazy, I'd be a conservative too

    Only Rush is entitled to make fun of 'retards' because he was being sarcastic. In Palin's hypocritical world, the seems to think the sun revolves around her, as there is no consistency in her values.

    February 19, 2010 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  15. josh

    IM a republican true and true...but this woman or thing is a complete joke. I pray she just disappears around 2012...

    February 19, 2010 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  16. Michael

    Lowest common denominator? I'm not an teenager sitting around drinking beer. I am a single father, who is in his mid 30s, who rarely even drinks. I think the show is funny, and that Palin needs to get a sense of humor. Not to mention, she needs to stop being a hypocrite.

    February 19, 2010 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  17. steve

    The libs in the media, including CNN, don't have a sense of humour..only when the "humour" is directed at Conservatives or Republicans do they say, in effect, "lighten up".

    The true thin skinned folk are Obama, Pelosi, Reid, ANY Kennedy, any liberal Black politician or celebrity and, of course, YOU in the media..who never turn a harsh spotlight on yourselves.

    Why is it when Clooney joked about Charlton Heston admitting he had Ahlzheimer's again (chuckle chuckle) is was fair game..but when Seargent Shriver (Kennedy) was announced as having the disease, no one DARED crack a joke?
    Likely it is because of the hyprocisy of the Left and the general decency of most on the Right to be sympatethic or even empathetic....but not sarcastic.

    So CNN, how low are your ratings now?

    February 19, 2010 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  18. RBZL

    I thought it was funny. :-)

    February 19, 2010 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  19. Diane

    LOL, I love it. Andrea Friedman rocks. The Palin clan is humorless and uptight.

    February 19, 2010 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  20. ahawk

    I wonder how whiney baby Sarah is handling this right now? I think the people who have the hardest time dealing with this sense of humor are those who don't have a disability. I have a mental illness of which I'm being treated for and I hear jokes all the time but I don't let it bother me. I'm secure enough in my life where I don't feel the need to run, hide and cry whenever people make wise cracks. In fact, I can laugh at myself, too. It's called "lighten up" people, get off your high horse and realize that some of us with a physical or mental disorder can actually laugh at ourselves!!

    February 19, 2010 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  21. GEE

    Liberals attack Palin on this pathethic excuse of "FREE SPEECH", but then in turn are crying foul when the History Channel brings out the truth about the liberal royal leader JFK. Liberals are just a bunch of winey losers who want everything given to them. GET A JOB. Oh yeah, your supreme leader is taking that away also..

    February 19, 2010 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  22. Laurie in Spokane

    Palin, get over yourself already.

    February 19, 2010 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  23. Anonymous

    Are you kidding? If she is going to get upset everytime someone makes fun of those with disabilities? Shows like "Family Guy" make fun of the disabled, the obese, the acne scarred, the bald, midgets (or to be PC – Little People), and even the handsome and beautiful. If she wants to make her point, say something like, "My child has downs syndrome, and I'm going to point out the beauty of my child and his accomplishments, and not focus on his flaws!" I think that everytime she attacks someone who jokes about "retards" she is the one insulting her child. God Bless you, Sarah, for providing loving care to a special needs child. But relax a bit. You of all people should know that being made fun of is ultimately a short lived joke!

    February 19, 2010 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  24. Pam

    I am in totally agreement with Sarah Palin...When is enough, enough? So enough already.....go away Palin. Take your own advise and just go away....please??

    February 19, 2010 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  25. Blah, Blah, Blah ...

    In addition to defending Trig, as any mother should, maybe she should also think about teaching him how wrong it is to capitalize on people's angers and fears, and divide them for personal financial and political gain. The perhaps her new-found moral outrage will resonate with a few more people.

    February 19, 2010 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
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