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‘Tonight Show’ Cancels Norm Macdonald Appearance After #MeToo Comments

Category: Art & Culture,Arts

NBC canceled Norm Macdonald’s appearance on “The Tonight Show” Tuesday after he made comments defending several entertainers accused of wrongdoing, including Louis C.K. and Roseanne Barr, and said their victims “didn’t have to go through” what they did.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Mr. Macdonald, the former “Saturday Night Live” cast member who has a Netflix talk show debuting on Friday, said he was “happy the #MeToo movement has slowed down a little bit.” He criticized a lack of “forgiveness” for the performers who had “all their work in their entire life being wiped out in a single day, a moment.”

Louis C.K., a comedian who wrote the forward for Mr. Macdonald’s 2016 book, “Based on a True Story,” was accused of sexual misconduct by five women. Ms. Barr, who gave Mr. Macdonald one of his earliest writing jobs, on “Roseanne,” lost her rebooted show on ABC after a racist tweet in May.

“Roseanne was so broken up that I got Louis to call her, even though Roseanne was very hard on Louis before that,” he said in the interview. “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.”

Mr. Macdonald apologized on Twitter, saying the two performers were “very good friends of mine” but that he “would never defend their actions.”

NBC canceled Mr. Macdonald’s appearance on Jimmy Fallon’s “Tonight Show” hours before it was set to air.

“Out of sensitivity to our audience and in light of Norm Macdonald’s comments in the press today, ‘The Tonight Show’ has decided to cancel his appearance on Tuesday’s telecast,” the network said in a statement.

“The Tonight Show” experienced a steep ratings drop after President Trump’s victory in the 2016 election, losing its top position to the more politically minded Stephen Colbert and “The Late Show” on CBS. In a moment that long haunted Mr. Fallon, he tousled Mr. Trump’s hair during a much-maligned interview in September 2016.

In the Hollywood Reporter interview, which was published Tuesday, Mr. Macdonald said Mr. Fallon had been unfairly criticized. Mr. Macdonald said talk show hosts, including Mr. Fallon, had been “forced to become political pundits.”

“He is just all about fun and silliness,” he said of Mr. Fallon. “That’s what his audience wants. And then to be maligned for quote-unquote humanizing Trump. Funny, I thought he was a human.”

Netflix did not immediately return a message asking if it would move forward with its new show, “Norm Macdonald Has a Show.”

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