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Norm Macdonald stopped by The Howard Stern Show on Wednesday to discuss his new Netflix talk show, Norm Macdonald Has a Show, and his controversial comments about the #MeToo movement in an interview published by The Hollywood Reporter on Tuesday.
Macdonald told Stern his comments on Roseanne Barr and C.K. had been misinterpreted.
Barr, who hired Macdonald to write on her original Roseanne series, lost her comeback series over a racist tweet.
C.K.’s production deal with FX Networks ended and a movie release was cancelled when he admitted to inappropriate behaviour following allegations from five women.
“I never defended them,” Macdonald told Stern. “I am completely behind the #MeToo movement.”
The Arc, an organization serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, criticized Macdonald for his comment and his “ignorance.”
“It is disheartening that yet again we need to remind a public figure to show respect for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” a statement from The Arc read. “What is particularly disturbing about Norm Macdonald’s comment is that in his attempt to explain away his insensitivity to the #MeToo movement, he chose to mock a group of people who have a much greater understanding of victimization than he does. Mr. Macdonald’s comment is doubly offensive and shows his ignorance about the disability community.”
Speaking with Stern, Macdonald did not apologize for his comments but he said he wished he never did the interview.
“I wish I never had to do an interview, especially a print interview because they edit it and put it together and ask you questions that maybe you don’t want to answer,” he said.
Macdonald, when speaking to Stern, said he put Barr in communication with C.K. because he felt the comic could give her more support having been through “this particular, very peculiar event where you say something or do something and your career is wiped out forever.”
Hours after his comments spread across the internet, generating criticism, Macdonald issued an apology on Twitter.
“Roseanne and Louis have both been very good friends of mine for many years. They both made terrible mistakes and I would never defend their actions,” he tweeted. “If my words sounded like I was minimizing the pain that their victims feel to this day, I am deeply sorry.”
Macdonald’s comments about the MeToo movement and C.K. and Barr led to The Tonight Show cancelling his appearance.
In a statement, NBC said it cancelled Tuesday’s appearance “out of sensitivity to our audience.”
He continued: “And he said, ‘What am I supposed to ask?’ And I said, “Jimmy, I don’t exactly know.’ So he leaves. Then someone suggested I start the show with an apology, and I go, ‘It’s not my show.’ And Jimmy came back in and said, ‘Can I talk to you, buddy?’ He was very broken up about it. And he said, ‘I don’t know what to do. And I said, ‘Should I not do the show?’ And he said. ‘I don’t know. It’s just that I have so much pressure from so many people.'”
“He goes, ‘People are crying.’ And I say, ‘People are crying?!’ And he said, ‘Yeah. Senior producers are crying.’ And I said, ‘Good lord! Bring them in and let me talk to them. I don’t want to make people cry,'” Macdonald revealed. “So Jimmy said, ‘Come back whenever you want, but I think it will hurt the show tonight. And I said, ‘Jimmy, I don’t want to hurt your show. That is the last thing I want to do.'”
When Stern asked if he had any other TV appearances cancelled due to his comments, Macdonald said, “They haven’t said anything yet.”
Macdonald said he doesn’t “like talking about politics, I find it boring.”
He continued: “Everywhere I go, every conversation comes back to Trump and these issues and I’m like, ‘God damn, I just want to talk about how I have to wait three years to see Game of Thrones.'”
His new talk show, Norm Macdonald Has a Show, debuts Friday on Netflix.
A Netflix spokeswoman said the streaming service has no comment on Macdonald’s remarks, but Macdonald told Stern he had talked to Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos about the interview and “he knows I’m a good guy.”
—With files from the Associated Press