Republican congressional candidate Dan Crenshaw, who is a former Navy SEAL who lost an eye during an IED blast while deployed to Afghanistan, has fired back at the tasteless joke a "Saturday Night Live" cast member made during a segment on Saturday's show.
During "Weekend Update," cast member Pete Davidson introduced Crenshaw, who is a Texas Republican congressional candidate, and referenced a picture of Crenshaw — who wears an eyepatch as a result of his injury — on the screen.
Sarcastically calling Crenshaw "pretty cool" because of the eyepatch, Davidson added, "You may be surprised to hear he's a congressional candidate for Texas, and not a hitman in a porno movie."
"I'm sorry," he laughed. "I know he lost his eye in war, or whatever."
"Whatever," Davidson added.
What did Crenshaw say in response?
Initially, Crenshaw responded on Twitter.
He wrote, "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."
On Monday morning, Crenshaw appeared on Fox News' "Fox & Friends," where he expounded on his Twitter statement.
"They probably should apologize, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to demand an apology," he said. "They certainly crossed the line, but their apology won’t mean anything to me.”
Crenshaw also expressed his gratitude for being able to see at all, despite his injury. After losing his left eye, he went on to complete two more deployments.
“It’s actually a miracle I can see at all and can continue serving the American people,” Crenshaw explained.
During his appearance, Crenshaw also suggested that Davidson and the rest of his "Saturday Night Live" cast mates consider donating to a veterans charity.
Crenshaw is running to represent Texas' 2nd Congressional District and is expected to win against his opponent, Democrat Todd Litton. The race is rated “likely Republican” by the Cook Political Report.
— FOX & friends (@foxandfriends) November 5, 2018
What did Crenshaw say about apologies?
Crenshaw also told TMZ that the "culture where we demand apologies every time someone misspeaks" is not healthy or helpful.
“I want us to get away from this culture where we demand apologies every time someone misspeaks,” he said. “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.”
Crenshaw added, “But I would like [Davidson] and ‘Saturday Night Live’ to recognize something, which is that veterans across the country probably don’t feel as though their wounds they received in battle should be the subject of a bad punchline for a bad joke. And here’s the real atrocity in all of this: It wasn’t even funny. ... It was just mean-spirited.”
Former White House press secretary Sean Spicer also appeared on "Fox & Friends" Monday morning, where he voiced his opinion that "SNL" Executive Producer Lorne Michaels should be fired over the incident — a starkly different response than that of Crenshaw himself.
"Dan Crenshaw is a Navy SEAL who lost an eye on the battlefield. And 'Saturday Night Live' mocked him for that," Spicer said. "This isn’t just Pete Davidson that did this. They are continuing to promote this video."
"Lorne Michaels knew about the video," Spicer added. "He approved — of the skit, rather. He approved of it; he watched it happen. That entire anchor desk of 'Weekend Update' was laughing at it, and then they continue to promote it on YouTube."
He concluded, "This is not apologetic. These people mocked a combat veteran and this is what they think is funny these days. Lorne Michaels should be fired."