‘SNL’ Star Pete Davidson Criticized For Mocking Candidate Dan Crenshaw, War Vet Who Lost Eye In Afghanistan
Saturday Night Live comedian Pete Davidson drew criticism over the weekend for mocking Republican Texas congressional candidate Dan Crenshaw, who lost his eye while serving in Afghanistan.
Davidson’s remarks came during SNL’s “Weekend Update” segment. The 24-year-old was giving his opinions of several candidates running in this week’s midterm elections and took a jab at 34-year-old Crenshaw, who now wears an eye patch.
“This guy is kind of cool, Dan Crenshaw,” Davidson started saying while a photo of the candidate appeared beside him. “You may be surprised to hear he’s a congressional candidate for Texas and not a hit-man in a porno movie.”
The line drew raucous laughter from the audience, and even from “Update” co-anchor Michael Che, who is heard telling Davidson “Come on, man” about going after Crenshaw.
“I’m sorry, I know he lost his eye in war… or whatever,” Davidson added of Crenshaw.
On Sunday, the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) denounced Davidson and SNL in a statement and demanded an immediate apology from NBC.
Crenshaw is running in Texas’s 2nd Congressional District. He served in the U.S. Navy from 2002 to 2016. He lost his eye after an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated while he was in combat in Afghanistan in 2012.
Several prominent conservatives, including NRCC Spokesman Jack Pandol and Fox News host Greg Gutfeld, slammed Davidson — who late last month broke up with pop star Ariana Grande following a five-month engagement — for his comments about the war veteran.
“Getting dumped by your pop star girlfriend is no excuse for lashing out at a decorated war hero who lost his eye serving our country. Pete Davidson and NBC should immediately apologize to Dan, and to the millions of veterans and military families who tune in every weekend – because they’re not laughing,” said Pandol.
“This is @snl – they address a cast member’s breakup as if it’s of vital importance. but laugh at a vet,” Gutfeld tweeted.
“lost his eye in war or whatever.”….. this is @snl – they address a cast members breakup as if it’s of vital importance. but laugh at a vet. https://t.co/4xoMLCKWTH
— GregGutfeld (@greggutfeld) November 4, 2018
By Monday around 11:15 AM the narrative will start to change to how Davidson is a victim of the angry right and how artists shouldn’t bend to pressure from the unsophisticated mob. https://t.co/X87ULnIJ7I
— Jonah Goldberg (@JonahNRO) November 4, 2018
Totally cheap, disgusting and classless of SNL to have Pete Davidson mock Dan Crenshaw for wearing an eye patch…then giggle that he was injured in the line of duty.@DanCrenshawTX is a Navy SEAL and hero who lost his eye in an IED attack in Afghanistan. pic.twitter.com/7VbMohQ3t2
— Tim Young (@TimRunsHisMouth) November 4, 2018
This is absolutely revolting! You cannot credibly complain about @realDonaldTrump insensitive rhetoric if you’re going to turn around and do the same thing. @nbcsnl owes Mr. Crenshaw an apology. https://t.co/PCThsH4G7b
— Kurt Bardella (@kurtbardella) November 4, 2018
Crenshaw himself also responded to Davidson’s joke:
Good rule in life: I try hard not to offend; I try harder not to be offended. That being said, I hope @nbcsnl recognizes that vets don’t deserve to see their wounds used as punchlines for bad jokes.
— Dan Crenshaw (@DanCrenshawTX) November 4, 2018
The congressional candidate also said in a video released by TMZ: “I want us to get away from this culture where we demand apologies every time someone misspeaks. I think that would be very healthy for our nation to go in that direction. We don’t need to be outwardly outraged. I don’t need to demand apologies from them. They can do whatever they want, you know. They are feeling the heat from around the country right now, and that’s fine.”
While speaking on the Today show Monday morning, Davidson’s SNL cast-mate Kenan Thompson said he believed Davidson went too far.
“It definitely seems it,” Thompson said of Davidson’s comments on the show. “My father’s a veteran, Vietnam, and I personally would never necessarily go there, but it’s tough when you’re fishing for jokes — like that’s how stand-ups feel like there’s no real filters out there in the world when they’re trying to go for a great joke or whatever, and we try to respect that but at the same time, when you miss the mark, you’re offending people so you have to really be a little more aware in my opinion.”
“He [Davidson] definitely missed the mark,” Thompson added.
Among the other candidates or politicians Davidson mocked on SNL this weekend were Florida Gov. Rick Scott, New York Rep. Peter King and Indiana congressional candidate Greg Pence, Vice President Mike Pence‘s brother. The only Democrat Davidson went after was New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.