TMZ

Our TV Shows

Got a Tip?

Call TMZ at (888) 847-9869 or Click Here

Jerry Lewis Drops F-Bomb During Telethon

9/4/2007 1:49 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

Click to return to TMZ.comA woozy Jerry Lewis, 81, went all Isaiah Washington on his telethon last night, calling someone -- or something -- an "illiterate fag."

In the midst of a typically Lewis-ian rant in the 18th hour of his Labor Day telethon, France's favorite comedian swayed, trying to dodge the cameraman, then introduced a "family member" as "the illiterate fag," then remembered, seemingly, that he was on live TV ... stopped himself and tried to move on.

The MDA telethon raised a record $63 million for muscular dystrophy over the three-day weekend.

After scolding us for calling so early (it's not like he dropped an offensive slur or anything!), a rep for Lewis had no comment on the incident.

UPDATE: Neil Giuliano, President of Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), has just issued the following statement to TMZ: "Jerry Lewis' on-air use of this kind of anti-gay slur is simply unacceptable. It also feeds a climate of hatred and intolerance that contributes to putting our community in harm's way. Our nation's media have done an admirable job this year holding public figures accountable for their use of anti-gay slurs, and I hope they continue to do so with Mr. Lewis."

Giuliano told TMZ that GLAAD is reaching out to Lewis' representatives today to request a meeting with him. "We want to sit down with him," Giuliano tells us, "help him understand why these words are so hurtful, and give him an opportunity to raise public awareness about the destructive impact of these kinds of anti-gay slurs, even more so in attempted humor."


453 COMMENTS

No Avatar
76.

tpmh69    

That was totally uncalled for. The telethon is supposed to be clean and wholesome. I'm sure he always talks like that behind closed doors, because he just spewed it out so effortlessly. I'm wondering too why he's not plastered all over the news today for that.

2607 days ago
77.

DottieDame    

Back when I was in high school we actually used to say this word just kidding around with people. We didn't think of it as a slur (Yes I know it is taken that way nowadays), but rather as a way of saying someone was acting silly or dumb. I wouldn't say it now because I am older and things have changed. However, we need to remember that not all people are young and grew up in a time when these words were offensive, so if they make an honest mistake cut them a little slack. I myself sometimes forget to call someone who is say Chinese an Asian person. We grew up saying Oriental and that is no longer politically correct. I also grew up calling African Americans by the term Black, and Native Americans were referred to as Indians (which I am in part and it didn't seem odd to me at the time). This is not to excuse his behavior, but to say I don't think he said it in a hateful way. Compare the way Isaiah Washington used it, and the anger with which Michael Richards said it. It was a slip of the tongue, and he caught it at the end. It doesn't make him someone who hates gay people, only someone who made a mistake.

2607 days ago
78.

realitycheck    

Once again, an institutionalized American Icon has epitomized America. Jerry Lewis' behavior and that of most of his supporters reiterates with monotonous regularity consistant uncharitable non-'christian' values. Why was he compared to Washington and not Gibson? Even in this publication, the slant is evident. Blame is shared cross culturally so that it lessens the impact.

As a culture America disporportionately cannonize entertainment figures and these demi-gods push the boundries of acceptable behavior because WE allow it. To say that he is just an old fool is close to truth. Jerry Lewis has made a career poking fun at victims of a horrid disease and it was accepted. Why are all of you now upset with his overt continuation along the same vein? He has merely substituted one for another. He is no longer gyrating like those suffering from dibilitating disease, he has targeted those those practicing alternative lifestyles. The respondant at his representative's office is right, why did anyone call?

2607 days ago
79.

Glurth    

Oh no! He said some words that expessed how he REALLY feels! Will you people relax?
Here are some words to get angry about : "Iraq has weapons of mass destruction". These are words that lead to the deaths of thousands. Pay attention to what's important, let the stupid stuff go.

2607 days ago
80.

observer    

What is actually happening in the USA is that we are slowly losing our freedom of speech.

2607 days ago
81.

Mark    

Sounded to me like he said "fatty".Don't jump to conclusions

2607 days ago
82.

Tangie    

#64me---me is not your name only. Everybody is me. I don't think you are important enough for anybody to care if yopu posted or not. As you like to say "pathetic"

2607 days ago
83.

observer    

We are gradually losing our freedom of speech in the USA. People are so complacent they don't even notice.

2607 days ago
84.

observer    

#70, thank you for distinguishing yourself from me this time. Bravo.

2607 days ago
85.

Tangie    

I'm not the person who posted under me...you are really weird.

2607 days ago
86.

observer    

CORRECTION: The numbers keep switching. My comment below was intended for #69:

#70, thank you for distinguishing yourself from me this time. Bravo.

2607 days ago
87.

keepitreal    

nothin will happen to Jerry he is white, as much as u will deny on this page keep it real! he is an old school, hung out with the rat pack. U know deep inside this will blow over

2607 days ago
88.

Diane    

Oh, cut him some slack - he is an OLD, OLD MAN.
And he is responsible for the major funding received by the MD association.

2607 days ago
89.

keepitreal    

n dr. evil voice "Riiiight"

2607 days ago
90.

Sherry    

Bet you all were not aware of this... The people in the audience are paid extras. They are paid $10.00 an hour to sit there. There are different shifts that you could sign up for. They also include a huge spread of food for everyone. There was a talent agency in Las Vegas that was handling the audience. So when you donated 10 bucks, it went to pay for someone to sit there. I just don't get it... people would do it for free!

2607 days ago
Previous 15 Comments | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | Most Recent | Next 15 Comments

Around The Web