Once-bald Seinfeld star Jason Alexander ruffled some feathers with has description of cricket as a gay sport on a recent TV chat show, but has now delivered a nice mea culpa.
Mocking the very British sport which Americans have never truly understood, Alexander commented on Craig Ferguson’s Late Late Show: “You know how I know it’s really kind of a gay game? It’s the pitch… It’s the weirdest. It’s not like a manly baseball pitch – it’s a queer British gay pitch.”
Watch below… it happens around the 5:15” mark:
Sensing the backlash, Alexander, who has played the most flamboyant of a bunch of gay men in the 1997 film Love! Valour! Compassion!, released a thoughtful statement.
“A few of my Twitter followers made me aware that they were both gay and offended by the joke,” said the actor. “And truthfully, I could not understand why.
“I do know that humor always points to the peccadillos or absurdities or glaring generalities of some kind of group or another – short, fat, bald, blonde, ethnic, smart, dumb, rich, poor, etc. It is hard to tell any kind of joke that couldn’t be seen as offensive to someone. But I truly did not understand why a gay person would be particularly offended by this routine.
“However, troubled by the reaction of some, I asked a few of my gay friends about it. And at first, even they couldn’t quite find the offense in the bit. But as we explored it, we began to realize what was implied under the humor. I was basing my use of the word ‘gay’ on the silly generalization that real men don’t do gentile, refined things and that my portrayal of the cricket pitch was pointedly effeminate, thereby suggesting that effeminate and gay were synonymous.
“It is not that we can’t laugh at and with each other. It is not a question of oversensitivity. The problem is that today, as I write this, young men and women whose behaviors, choices or attitudes are not deemed ‘man enough’ or ‘normal’ are being subjected to all kinds of abuse from verbal to physical to societal. They are being demeaned and threatened because they don’t fit the group’s idea of what a ‘real man’ or a ‘real woman’ are supposed to look like, act like and feel like.”
He added: “So, I would like to say – I now get it. And to the extent that these jokes made anyone feel even more isolated or misunderstood or just plain hurt – please know that was not my intention, at all or ever. I hope we will someday live in a society where we are so accepting of each other that we can all laugh at jokes like these and know that there is no malice or diminishment intended.
“But we are not there yet.
“So, I can only apologize and I do.”