On Tuesday night, The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon announced that it would no longer host comedian Norm Macdonald “out of sensitivity to our audience and in light of Norm Macdonald’s comments in the press today.” What, exactly, did Macdonald say? He said that he was glad that the #MeToo movement had “slowed down a bit.” He continued:
It used to be, ‘One hundred women can’t be lying.’ And then it became, ‘One woman can’t lie.’ And that became, ‘I believe all women.’ And then you’re like, ‘What?’ Like, that Chris Hardwick guy I really thought got the blunt end of the stick there.
From there, Macdonald observed that the #MeToo movement had created a perverse set of incentives: by failing to allow people to apologize, come clean, make restitution, and return to their careers, they’d made it more likely that people wouldn’t admit to guilt at all. He then added:
Well, Louis [C.K.] and Roseanne [Barr] are the two people I know. And Roseanne was so broken up [after her show’s reboot was canceled] that I got Louis to call her, even though Roseanne was very hard on Louis before that. But she was just so broken and just crying constantly. There are very few people that have gone through what they have, losing everything in a day. Of course, people will go, “What about the victims?” But you know what? The victims didn’t have to go through that.
But Fallon won’t have him on. Now, remember, NBC is the same network that covered up Harvey Weinstein’s sexual abuse allegations. But they won’t have on Macdonald to clarify. Why not? Because, reportedly, Macdonald made members of the Late Show staff cry. No joke. According to Macdonald:
Jimmy came back in. “Can I talk to you buddy?” And he said, he was very, very broken up about it, he didn’t want this, he said, “I don’t know what to do.” I said, “You think I shouldn’t do the show.” “People are crying.” I said, “People are crying.” “Yeah,” he said, “senior producers are crying.” I said, “Good Lord, bring them in and let me talk to them. I didn’t even know I had the capacity to make people cry. So I felt so bad from that comment. Jimmy said, “Come back whatever you want but I think it will hurt the show tonight.” I said, “Jimmy, I don’t want to hurt your show. That’s the last thing I want to do is hurt your show.”
People were crying about Macdonald’s comments? This is just the latest proof that at major shows and websites and publications across the country, editorial judgment is no longer about the judgment of the editors, but about the fuss lower-level staffers can make. We’ve seen this with regard to Bari Weiss at The New York Times; we’ve seen it with regard to Kevin Williamson at The Atlantic; we’ve seen it over and over again. Just so long as some on staff are upset with any given decision, higher-ups will reverse themselves.
In any case, this is idiotic. Macdonald isn’t just a comedian, he happens to have a long track record of saying politically incorrect things. If Fallon wanted to grill him on the comments, he’d have every opportunity to do so. Instead, we’ll just get more walls and boundaries on conversation, accompanied by a tears.