February 19th, 2010
06:31 PM ET
13 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. lexus

    People need to calm the hell down.. With so much going on in this world, that all the media can do is feed fule to the fire, and palin to keep her name in the the media, its only a cartoon..And family guy has went after everyone, and has touched on everything. Just ridculous...

    February 19, 2010 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  2. Todd Holen

    Sarah Palin continues to receive media attention on a daily basis. None of the articles I read are actually newsworthy. Is anybody else starting to think CNN.com has a hidden agenda?

    February 19, 2010 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  3. Huh

    Holder should resign.
    Gov. Perry's aid doesn't have to.
    Rush uses the word , you say it was satire and you are fine with this.
    Family Guy uses satire and you are outraged.

    You are too hypocritical for me. Your bias is as big as your ego.

    February 19, 2010 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  4. Mark

    Palin is nothing but a real retard.

    February 19, 2010 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  5. Splat!~

    Good for you Ms. Friedman! I for one am proud of you for your success!

    The really tragic aspect of this story is that Ms. Palin has a shameful history of using her children for her own advancement. By including both Trig and Bristol in this particular farce, she's getting twice the bang for her buck.

    Admonish Rush, Sarah, otherwise your just being a hypocrite! Again!~

    February 19, 2010 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  6. sam

    Palin is a joke and she keeps getting better at it.

    February 19, 2010 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  7. Randy, San Francisco

    How ironic that a prominent GOP leader, Sarah Palin, is offended by the lack of political correctness on FOX's "Family Guy" show. The GOP is full of angry extreme right wing conservatives, including many talk show hosts, who rail against political correctness. Palin understands it isn't about political correctness or having a sense of humor but the pain suffered by the victims of unkind jokes or stereotyping.

    February 19, 2010 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  8. jeff

    Palins stand up routines are a lot more ofensive than family guys!!

    February 19, 2010 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  9. jay shempert

    who is sara palin and why should i care what she thinks

    February 19, 2010 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  10. Randy

    Of course this actress is going to defend what was portrayed in the show. Geez.

    I hardly find making light of a specific downs' syndrome child to be funny...

    February 19, 2010 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  11. J

    Imagine if she was President...

    "The actions of Iran have left me too angry to offer a coherent response so I've asked my daughter, Bristol, to respond..."

    February 19, 2010 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  12. Lisa

    If she had a real job she wouldn't have time to waste on these non important issues.

    February 19, 2010 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  13. Ken

    I wonder if the "actress" would think it funny if someone called her the "daughter of Mrs. Fay"? I am glad Sarah Palin is calling out those (including Obama) who would offend innocent people. Time to Push Back and Take Back America.

    February 19, 2010 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  14. Eve

    WOW! Can't wait for Palin to be president so she can be too angry to be coherent and abdicate her responsibilities to Bristol!!!

    February 19, 2010 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  15. icarus

    Friedman also said that her own mother "did not carry me around under her arm like a loaf of French bread the way former Governor Palin carries her son Trig around looking for sympathy and votes."

    February 19, 2010 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  16. Lori in St Pete

    Dim bulb barbie's "anger" has nothing to do with her inability 'to offer a coherent response". She needs to get over herself. If she's so offended why hasn't she tendered her resignation to her employer? After all, it was HIS network that chose to allow the program that so offended her delicate sensibilities.

    February 19, 2010 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  17. Maria

    I personally think it is messed up to go after a defenseless child that cannot stand up for himself. I bet people would have attacked this more if they had made fun of Obama's children. However, since no one seems to like Palin, it's ok to make fun of her child. Messed up!

    February 19, 2010 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  18. katiec

    If you believe Bristol wrote that response I have a bridge to nowhere to sell you. Hasn't Palin set this 19 year old up in some kind of consulting firm? Will she be funneling money to her?
    Can't wait til the day this fraud self destructs, and she will.

    February 19, 2010 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  19. James

    if anyone actually watched that entire episode, it showed that the character with down's was a mean, demanding, articulate and confident person. what does that show? that she was a real person, not as a nice victim of circumstance who should be pitied. it showed her as an individual, just with down syndrome. i thought it was funny and people shouldn't be too PC about this. the fact that a character with down syndrome is treated just like the rest of us – portrayed with a less than angelic demeanor and without any other commentary to the affliction – is probably a compliment that she was viewed as a normal individual just like the rest of us who just happened to have down syndrome.

    February 19, 2010 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  20. greta

    I am a fan of Andrea's and have been since she played "Amanda" on Life Goes On. Cheers to you Andrea, you are an inspiration!!!!!

    February 19, 2010 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  21. Anonymous

    these people on this show are just a bunch of complainers. you are discussing the aspects of a cartoon, when the rest of the world is going to hell. please find better topics to discuss

    February 19, 2010 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  22. Annie from PA

    Sarah should listen to Andrea, perhaps learn something from someone who chooses NOT to be a victim and blame others for her woes..

    February 19, 2010 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  23. AEJ

    I think Sarah wants to manipulates the way people express themselves, and to be so very careful what you say less you are labelled insentitive or comes across as not caring. I have an aunt who is retarded and we never saw her differently. The fact is she is retarded and she/us accept her for her disability. We cannot say it otherwise, she is retarded, but that doesn't stop us from loving her and caring her.

    When since people cannot use the word or say 'RETARDED". RETARDED is in the dictionary.

    February 19, 2010 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  24. Molly

    I'm glad Friedman felt she was "entitled" to say something. Yes, she is so special, she must be heard.

    I've never watched the show, but it seems that bad humor is normal for them.

    However, it is never appropriate to include the children of public figures as fodder for your personal sense of humor. Just because somebody doesn't agree with your personal sense of humor, doesn't make them wrong.

    President Clinton did not appreciate attacks against Chelsea that she was ugly, and that was ok, everybody agreed not to harass them anymore. At least Chelsea could "correct" being "ugly", she has blossomed into a beautiful, articulate woman.

    So what is the difference now? Why is it ok to attack the child of a conservative then accuse the parent of not having sense of humor? Did anybody tell the Clintons that they didn't have a sense of humor?

    I don't think President Obama would tolerate any attacks against his children, and he has stated publicly that children should be off limits. I think it is time he stood up and chastised the offenders before they come after his.

    February 19, 2010 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  25. Marcus in Greensboro, NC

    Wow, now pick your face up Palin. I love Family Guy and I love how they set Sarah up for this one. They knew she would play the victim card and try to argue about it. The actress who did the voiceover for the character that had Down sydrome actually has Down syndrome, and is not offended. I praise the actress for making people laugh and finding humor in it instead of being so sensitive like the rest of the media that tried to make this a story.

    February 19, 2010 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
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