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Norm Macdonald Apologizes for Down Syndrome Comments

Norm Macdonald offered an apology — this time for his apology — on “The View” on Thursday, a day after he tried to explain his earlier remarks about the #MeToo movement by making a pejorative reference to people with Down syndrome.

Mr. Macdonald went on ABC’s “The View” to address the backlash that emanated from an interview published earlier in the week by The Hollywood Reporter, in which he discussed the quick downfalls of the comedians Roseanne Barr and Louis C. K., both friends of his, by saying “victims didn’t have to go through” what the performers had suffered.

Critics accused him of minimizing the #MeToo movement. NBC’s “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” canceled an appearance by Mr. Macdonald on Tuesday.

On “The Howard Stern Show” the following morning, Mr. Macdonald said he understood the significance of #MeToo and tried to clarify what he had meant. In doing so, he said, “You’d have to have Down syndrome — my new word.”

Mr. Stern interrupted: “Down syndrome, good word.”

Mr. Macdonald continued: “You’d have to have Down syndrome to not feel sorry for” women who have endured sexual harassment and abuse.

This caused a new backlash, including criticism from the Arc, an organization for people with developmental disabilities, which called Mr. Macdonald’s comments “disturbing.”

So it was on to “The View,” where Mr. Macdonald explained what was going through his mind when he was talking to Mr. Stern.

“There used to be a word we would all say to mean ‘stupid’ that we don’t say anymore,” Mr. Macdonald said, “Right? You know the word I’m talking about?

He continued: “Stupidly, I was about to say that word and I stopped and said, ‘What’s the right word to say?’”

Of the “Down syndrome” comment, he said: “I realized at that moment that I had done something unforgivable.”

Mr. Macdonald, who was visibly uncomfortable, added, “It’s always bad when you have to apologize for the apology.”

Mr. Macdonald’s round of interviews is part of a media tour for “Norm Macdonald Has a Show,” his new Netflix program, which is scheduled to begin on Friday. There has been no indication that Netflix will change its plans for the debut.


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