A well-known comedian has been banned from appearing on ESPN and dumped from an appearance on Comedy Central over a series of controversial tweets. According to media reports, veteran radio and TV comedian Artie Lange got himself in hot water with a series of tweets Wednesday.
Lange, known as a longtime sidekick on “The Howard Stern Show,” tweeted a series of what Deadline.com calls “jaw-dropping” and “jarring” fantasies about ESPN host Cari Champion. He was then dropped by Comedy Central from its Thursday episode of “@midnight,” with ESPN condemning his comments, Deadline reports.
Lange began with a tweet that read, “That chick on ESPNs First Take is so fuckin hot!,” referring to “First Take” host Champion, who is African-American. He then tweeted what TheWrap.com calls “a sexual slavery fantasy” involving Champion. One of his tweets said, “Here’s the scenario I’m using to jer*off to chick on First Take I’m T. Jefferson & she’s my slave. She beats the sh*t out of me & runs free.”
After receiving a backlash for his tweets, Lange played what Deadline calls the “It’s comedy, folks” excuse. “I then thought it would be funny to tweet JOKES about that observation. A decision which might be the end of modern comedy,” Lange tweeted.
ESPN released a statement saying: “His comments were reprehensible and no one should be subjected to such hateful language. They objectify and demean one of our valued employees under the thin guise of ‘comedy’ and are offensive to all of us. We will not dignify them with any other comment.”
Lange tweeted an apology to Champion, but refused to apologize to others he might have offended, Deadline notes.
ESPN did not plan to give airtime on Thursday’s episode of “First Take” to allow Champion or her colleagues Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith to address the issue, according to TheWrap.
TMZ.com reported that ESPN has banned Lange from appearing on the network. “ESPN initially called Lange’s tweets ‘reprehensible,’ but now a spokesperson for the network tells TMZ they’ve flat out banned him,” the website reported. “We’re told … ‘there will be no future bookings’ for the comedian.”
Lange appeared on “MADtv” in the 1990s and has had a string of guest appearances on shows including “Entourage” and “Rescue Me.” He hosted DirecTV’s “The Artie Lange Show” until its cancellation earlier this year.
Cari Champion on ESPN’s “First Take”