Yesterday, Radar tried to gin up some controversy around a joke made by Jerry Seinfeld. Rush & Molloy reported that the comedian, promoting his new film Bee Movie, said of bees, "They have no crime, they have no drugs, they have no rape. A little rape, but it's not that bad." Radar sensed an opening and plowed through, calling a few anti-rape activists and asking them to comment. Predictably, they were outraged. But what of those on the other side of the issue? How did they feel? Gawker investigated.
Craig Taylor, director of the National Organization for Nonconsensual Encounters, says he has trouble understanding why Seinfeld would make such a joke, particularly in the context of a film for children. "It surprised me, frankly, because I've always been a Jerry Seinfeld fan," he says. "But this was kind of half-assed. There's plenty funny about rape. It's offensive that this was the best he could come up with. We deserve better. Hey, let me pour you another drink, your glass is almost empty."
Donald Attlee, the executive director of No Means Maybe, had a similar reaction. "Rape is comedy gold," he says. "This is the best Seinfeld could do? Working in the pro-violence field, we get accused of not taking things seriously enough. But just because you're a comedian doesn't mean that everything that comes out of your mouth is funny. I mean, he could make a whole set out of 'forced entry' jokes alone. This was a missed opportunity."
Meanwhile, YAIMO, the Your Ass Is Mine Organization (great gift shop, btw), responded with an admonitory statement: "Rape is not only a joke. It's a time-honored tradition and, occasionally, a bonding ritual for young men who are unsure about their sexuality and need to reassure themselves that they're 'okay' through violent and degrading attacks. It is also chock-a-block with comedic potential. The fact that Seinfeld did so little with the material is a disservice to the entire rape-affirmative community."
Seinfeld has since apologized, telling Rush & Molloy, "I was only referring to the insect world. I'm sorry if anyone got upset. I have a long history of including rape bits in my stand-up act, and was, in fact, the first comedian to do a date rape joke on Johnny Carson. And the last episode of my show included prison rape material. But I want to assure everyone my next HBO special, 'Tied Up and Assfucked' will be full of top-quality sex assault humor. Did ya ever notice how rohypnol costs twice as much as ketamine? What's the deal with that?"