Jason Alexander, former star of Seinfeld, has apologised after he made comments on Craig Ferguson’s The Late Late Show which were deemed homophobic by gay rights activists and LGBT blogs.
Mr Alexander appeared on the show a week ago, and, during a discussion about athletic games, described cricket as a ‘gay sport.’ He suggested that this was because the players wore white, donned helmets ‘for no discernible reason,’ and even went so far as to describe the cricket pitch as unmanly and effeminate.
“You know how I know it’s really kind of a gay game? It’s the pitch. It looks like nothing — if you slow it slow motion, it’s kind of a —” Mr Alexander says before enacting a hyperbole of the action. “It’s the weirdest… It’s not like a manly baseball pitch; it’s a queer British gay pitch.” (In the video above, the exchange begins roughly after 8 minutes, 45 seconds.)
Now, Mr Alexander has released a statement through the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, where he apologises for not ‘truly understanding’ the offensiveness of his remarks. Excerpts from his statement are provided below:
… I was basing my use of the word “gay” on the silly generalization that real men don’t do gentile, refined things and that my portrayal of the cricket pitch was pointedly effeminate , thereby suggesting that effeminate and gay were synonymous.
But what we really got down to is quite serious. It is not that we can’t laugh at and with each other. It is not a question of oversensitivity. The problem is that today, as I write this, young men and women whose behaviors, choices or attitudes are not deemed ‘man enough’ or ‘normal’ are being subjected to all kinds of abuse from verbal to physical to societal. They are being demeaned and threatened because they don’t fit the group’s idea of what a ‘real man’ or a ‘real woman’ are supposed to look like, act like and feel like.
For these people, my building a joke upon the premise I did added to the pejorative stereotype that they are forced to deal with everyday. It is at the very heart of this whole ugly world of bullying that has been getting rightful and overdue attention in the media. And with my well-intentioned comedy bit, I played right into those hurtful assumptions and diminishments.
And the worst part is — I should know better. My daily life is filled with gay men and women, both socially and professionally. I am profoundly aware of the challenges these friends of mine face and I have openly advocated on their behalf.
So, I would like to say – I now get it. And to the extent that these jokes made anyone feel even more isolated or misunderstood or just plain hurt – please know that was not my intention, at all or ever. I hope we will someday live in a society where we are so accepting of each other that we can all laugh at jokes like these and know that there is no malice or diminishment intended.
But we are not there yet.
So, I can only apologize and I do. In comedy, timing is everything. And when a group of people are still fighting so hard for understanding, acceptance, dignity and essential rights – the time for some kinds of laughs has not yet come. I hope my realization brings some comfort.
Mr Alexander has played the character of an effeminate gay man in the past, in the acclaimed film, Love! Valour! Compassion!