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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."


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I am sure he meant it in the most loving and best of ways !

2609 days ago

Not-a Jerry-lover    

Remember - this is the same guy that made his fortune by making fun of the very same handicapped people that he now raises money to support. Has anyone asked where this money goes, or what percentage of that money actually reached those that truly do research?

2609 days ago


DISGRACEFUL. The MDA telethon and organizations need to rebuke him and what he said.

2609 days ago


Why do they always want to sit down and talk about what the celeb did? They ment it, otherwise they wouldn't have said it.

2609 days ago



2609 days ago


Jerry Lewis for President!!!!!!!!!!

2609 days ago

Julius Kelp    

I have watched the telethon for 45 years, starting when it was still just a local production in NY. One of my guilty pleasures is to clock how long it is before the Great Humanitarian makes a rude or angry jibe to his crew while on the air. I've never had to wait more than a half hour, and that counts the time for the opening production number. This year, Jerry checked in with a snap at 14 minutes. His pomposity and arrogance are legendary in the business. The telethon itself is now just a dreadful parade of corporate commercials dressed up as charity, with carloads of schmaltz and condenscension for the afflicted and a dollop of questionable entertainment from people you have never heard of, shouldn't have heard of, or whom you thought had died ten years ago. (Incidentally, my favorite entertainment moment this year came at the end of the NY broadcast, with Tony Orlando and company urging kids and adults to sing along with "Satisfaction." I wonder what the little goodwill ambassadors thought the song was about.) All that notwithstanding, there has never been a shred of evidence that Lewis gets paid for his on the show; given the public reporting required of a charity, that sort of thing could not be concealed. Even an egomaniac can do good works. And the fact is that MDA is one of the better-run non-profits and well worth a donation.

2609 days ago

Truth Seeker    

To Lubby 126: Pahleese spare us. Where to you get off calling Jerry a "piece of trash". And how dare you claim he makes moeny off of his work with MDA. Show us one little piece of a shred of evidence of this. He makes nothing off of all his hard work except for the satisfaction that comes with helping people! So he used a politically incorrect word. Whoop-dee-frick'n-deal! Jerry is one of the greastest human beings to ever inhabit this planet! He has raised Billions for MDA. You should bow down to him. He has a heart of gold and really cares about this cause. I have several gay friends. I spoke with three of them this morning about this and not one was offended in any way what-so-ever! Why don't you go crawl back under your rock. And if you need to know where you can go I will be glad to draw you a map of how to get there.

2609 days ago


I bet thousands of people in Hollywood don't really want to be Politacally Correct, they HAVE to be or they may not get hired because of a handful who run the place because it is a huge clique. They are actors who need their words fed to them. They want to fit in with the crowd. Not Jerry, he doesn't have to. Love it.

How amazing would it be if a grassroots group began that got all of the Hollywood followers to stop following and everyone showed their true colors.

Agree or disagree with all the statements you want....I say good for Jerry Lewis to not be afraid of what any us thinks about what he says.

I actually think it is refreshing to see a man with balls like Jerry, old or the right placement...and is willing to say yours aren't!


2609 days ago

Wake Up    

Doesn't the gay community have bigger problems than a maybe slur from an exhausted 81 year old?
I watch the show and the news clips--it sounded like fatty--either way it was a slip. However, sharp disparaging
humor has always been part of his act-he insulted Ed McMahon as well as others. The point is that
this man raises millions for sick children. In all the years he has done this telethon (many when he was ill)
no one has ever has a shred of evidence that he has personally profited from this. The head of the GLAAD
should focus on issues that can directly affect the lives of the people he represents. Mr. Lewis was a Jewish man
growing up in the 40's he doesn't need to be lectured by Mr. Gladstone about bigotry. TMZ needs to stop trying
to take the attention away from MDA and all it does by focusing on this nothing story about a
possible slip of the tongue.

2609 days ago


WHO CARES??????????? This guy makes millions for MDA every single year! Screw those that take a word many use out of context (not referring to a bundle of sticks) so seriously!
Congratulations, Jerry Lewis for doing so much good!

2609 days ago


I agree that his comment was uncalled for. However, anyone who watched the telethon could tell he was 1) Exhausted, 2) Delusional/Senile from old age, 3) Lost and confused. I know these aren't excuses, but the man is 81 years old (and looks to be in the first stages of Alzeimers to me). Let the GLAAD work it out with Lewis and his reps before you turn it into a huge hate war. And maybe he shouldn't be doing Live Television anymore. Just remember folks, you can't change everyone in the world at once, it takes time for the stubborn ones to come around (or die, whichever comes first).

2609 days ago


Being Gay is a choise and a very bad one. Its a sad day when our children grow up thinking its ok to be gay. They will be the downfall of life as we know it. Its a sick, perverted way to live and think. Nowdays anytime something is said about gays they start whinning.

2609 days ago


Okay folks remember the man is 81 years old. I agree that what he said was totally uncalled for and as far as cursing in line at the airport. Heck I do that now. The point is if you look back on his career he has raised a lot of money for the MS folks.

He is just an tired old man that needs a refresher on what is politically correct.

2609 days ago

Truth Seeker    

27. Jerry Lewis is a crass, uncouth, bigot known across show business as an arrogant phony. Check with the MDA television crew if you don't believe it. He's a hated man and one annual telethon (for which he is paid) cannot wash away his ickiness. He makes my skin crawl.

Hank you are so full of crap! Everything you state here is pure BS. Go star in a donkey show you dumbass!

2609 days ago
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