It was hard to really find fault with Jerry Lewis after he recently announced to Entertainment Tonight's cameras that Merv Griffin "deserved to die," seeing as the sentiment was fundamentally well-intentioned, and probably originated in the defunct part of his brain devoted to censoring statements about how deceased friends had it coming to them. But Lewis was clearly pushing his luck with this impromptu comic riff from his annual Muscular Dystrophy Association telethon, in which the Cinderfella star made light of the various social challenges being met by a particular camera operator's son.
Despite Lewis catching himself just a moment too late in what would best be characterized as a momentary lapse of comedic discretion—not to mention having raised almost $63.7 million for the cause—gay-taunt watchdog organization GLAAD has come out against his use of the word "fag," and are demanding an apology. It's a move that would have been virtually unheard of in the comedian's Rat Pack heyday, when not only would the comment have been greeted with hysterical laughter, but would have been likely followed by Frank Sinatra insisting the unfortunate boy in question be trotted out and forced to absorb a round gut-punches from Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop.
UPDATE: It didn't take long for Jerry Lewis to issue the demanded public apology.
- GLAAD CRITICIZES JERRY LEWIS' ON-AIR USE OF ANTI-GAY SLUR [GLAAD.org]
- Jerry Lewis Telethon Controversy [Daily Motion]