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Posted at 5:45 AM ET, 02/20/2010

VIDEO UPDATE: 'Family Guy' actress makes appeal to Palin

By Michael Cavna

[Note: This Friday post has been updated Saturday with video of the "Family Guy" voice actress.]

This week, Comic Riffs asked you whether you sided with ex-guv Sarah Palin or "Family Guy" creator Seth MacFarlane -- or neither -- in the controversy over Sunday's episode of the animated Fox show. In that episode, a teen character who has Down syndrome says her mother is "the former governor of Alaska."

Of the more than 3,000 'Riffs readers who voted, 65 percent said they sided with MacFarlane, citing that the character was all in the name of fair satire, tastless though it might be. Palin, whose young son Trig has Down syndrome, and her daughter Bristol criticized "Family Guy," saying the episode mocked their family.

Now, the actress who voiced the teen character, Andrea Fay Friedman -- who herself has Down syndrome -- sides with the 65 percent of you who backed MacFarlane.

Naturally, her reaction is fairly to be expected, considering that (a) the actress agreed to do the oft-crass show in the first place, script in hand; and (b) MacFarlane's folks were cutting the check for her gig. Still, Friedman -- reportedly speaking with "The Insider" -- is passionate in her appeal. She says in part:

"Sarah, I know you're watching this. ... A lot of people have teased me because I have Down syndrome. ... [It's] a challenge, not a disability."

Citing Trig's having Down syndrome, Friedman appeals to Palin: "Don't take advantage of that. He has a normal life. I have a normal life." She goes on to say she's angry because she believes Palin in using Trig to gain votes.

Friedman also says of Palin's response to Sunday night's "Family Guy": "It'd be nice if [Palin] had a sense of humor. It's only a joke."

Also this week, Palin appeared on the program of a Fox News colleague -- Bill O'Reilly -- to address the controversy:

Now, as this story nears the end of its news cycle: Movin' on...

By Michael Cavna  | February 20, 2010; 5:45 AM ET
Categories:  The Animation  | Tags:  Family Guy, Sarah Palin, Seth MacFarlane  
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Next: TIGER TOONS: Cartoonists pull an irony out of their bag [UPDATED]


There was NO JOKE about Trigg Palin in the show, and nobody made fun of someone with DS. The story was about a teen girl WITH DS who goes out on a date. She isn't portrayed badly at all, in fact she is feisty and a typical teen. Palin, once again, is looking for attention. Just to be clear: The comment regarding Family Guy and the 'kick in the gut' was supposedly from Bristol Palin, written on Sarah's OFFICIAL site on Facebook. It's obvious from the FB post that neither Sarah not Bristol actually saw the show in question, they jumped yet again to a 'conclusion' and grabbed (once again) the opportunity to play the victim. This is a well-known tactic of Palin's: paranoid OUTRAGE! at anything that she decides is about her. Then, she rants about it, calling it 'defending' (insert perceived insult here).

Posted by: Archivist1000 | February 19, 2010 8:20 PM | Report abuse

I have held my tongue for as long as I can. I have a brother with Down Syndrome. Neither my mother nor my father would have dreamed of exploiting--yes exploiting--him, as Gov Palin has her son. What she is doing is opportunistic and cruel and transparent. For her own aggrandizement. Vile.

Thanks so much. Mr Cavna, for the link to that clip.

Posted by: hongdb | February 20, 2010 7:55 AM | Report abuse

This is a sad commentary about how many people out there STILL do not feel comfortable with seeing people on TV or in the movies, comedy or drama, with DS or other disability labels.

Just because this character had DS everyone assumes that the writers were making fun of DS.

No one was making fun of Trig or DS. They were poking fun at people who can't beyond the disability. People who only see the disability.

How ironic is that a cartoon like Family Guy that brought so much offense to the Palins might be the one cartoon that points out that kids like Trig are only "less fortunate" if they are raised to be "less."

Posted by: ElisabethsMom | February 20, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

So lets go back a couple weeks. Rhaum Emmanuelle makes a comment about some folks being "retarded." Palin comes out swinging and suggests that Emmanuelle step down. The very next day Rush Limbaugh goes on blab nation and makes a joke about "people who are retarded saying others are retarded."

When asked about Rush Limbaugh's use of the word Palin suggested that Rush's use of it was okay as he didn't really mean it and it was satire.

Fast foward to last week's Family Guy. A show which most would consider a satire. In the show one of the characters goes on a date with a girl with DS. And when the girl with DS is asked about herself she replies she's Sarah Palin's daughter.

Which, apparently isn't okay with Sarah Palin...even though it is a satire. So, while Family Guy is tasteless as usual in their material, they stuck it to her. They proved that, once again, she's a hypocrite. How is it okay for Rush Limbaugh to call people retarded but not for a Democrat or a television show? While I am not supporting any of it...Rush shouldn't get a free pass.

Posted by: fortheclueless | February 21, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

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