Actor Pete Davidson is under fire after a “Saturday Night Live” skit where he mocked a veteran and GOP congressional candidate’s eye patch, which he wears because he lost his eye when a bomb exploded on one of his deployments.
Republican Dan Crenshaw, who is running in Texas’s 2nd Congressional District, lost his right eye in 2012 on his third military deployment in Afghanistan. He was told he would never see again but recovered sight in his left eye and was deployed twice more.
“After I had to move back in with my mom, I started paying attention to them,” Davidson said on Saturday’s show, referring to his first impressions of congressional candidates. “I realized there are some really gross people running for office this year.”
“This guy is kind of cool, Dan Crenshaw,” he said.
“Oh, c’mon, man,” Weekend Update co-anchor Michael Che interjected.
“You may be surprised to hear he’s a congressional candidate from Texas and not a hit man in a porno movie,” Davidson said to laughter from the audience.
“I’m sorry, I know he lost his eye in war, or whatever,” the 24-year-old continued. “Whatever.”
The skit, which also poked fun at the appearance of several other Republican candidates, was considered in bad taste and sparked a massive backlash online.
“Getting dumped by your pop star girlfriend is no excuse for lashing out at a decorated war hero who lost his eye serving our country,” read a statement from Jack Pandol, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee.
Davidson recently split from his fiance, pop superstar Ariana Grande.
Disgrace for SNL comedian Pete Davidson to mock GOP Dan Crenshaw for wearing eye patch. As Navy Seal he lost eye in combat. (“He lost his eye in combat or whatever.”) What are NBC’s standards for firing? PC to insult wounded vets?!? (Davidson also insulted me. Who cares?!)
— Rep. Pete King (@RepPeteKing) November 4, 2018
Saturday Night Live and cast member Pete Davidson’s attempts to mock decorated war hero, Retired Lt. Commander @DanCrenshawTX , are utterly abhorrent. Crenshaw, and all veterans, deserve an apology.https://t.co/gR7CdVMSHS
— Texas GOP (@TexasGOP) November 4, 2018
Republican Representative Peter King, who was also the butt of jokes in the sketch, called the comments on Crenshaw a “disgrace.”
The Texas Republican party called the jokes about their candidate “utterly abhorrent.”
Crenshaw said he was not taking the bad jokes personally but added that he hopes NBC knows not to use veterans’ wounds as “punchlines for bad jokes.”
Good rule in life: I try hard not to offend; I try harder not to be offended. That being said, I hope @nbcsnl recognizes that vets don’t deserve to see their wounds used as punchlines for bad jokes.
— Dan Crenshaw (@DanCrenshawTX) November 4, 2018
“I want us to get away from this culture where we demand apologies every time someone misspeaks,” he told TMZ. “I think that would be very healthy for our nation to go in that direction. We don’t need to be outwardly outraged. I don’t need to demand apologies from them. They can do whatever they want, you know. They are feeling the heat from around the country right now, and that’s fine.”
“But I would like [Davidson] and ‘Saturday Night Live’ to recognize something, which is that veterans across the country probably don’t feel as though their wounds they received in battle should be the subject of a bad punch line for a bad joke,” he continued. “And here’s the real atrocity in all of this: It wasn’t even funny . . . It was just mean-spirited.”