The actress who played a prospective girlfriend with Down syndrome on Family Guy has lashed back at former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, saying she doesn’t understand sarcasm for a remark during the program where she said her mother was the “former governor of Alaska.”
Palin attacked the shows’ writers for what she saw as a low blow jab at her son, Trig, who has Down syndrome. But the actress, who has Down syndrome herself, fired back at Palin for toting her son around “like a loaf of French bread.”
“In my family we think laughing is good,” actress Andrea Fay Friedman quipped. “My parents raised me to have a sense of humor and to live a normal life. My mother did not carry me around under her arm like a loaf of French bread the way former Governor Palin carries her son Trig around looking for sympathy and votes.”
“I was born with Down syndrome,” Friedman added. “I played the role of Ellen on the ‘Extra Large Medium’ episode of Family Guy that was broadcast on Valentine’s day. Although they gave me red hair on the show, I am really a blonde. I also wore a red wig for my role in ‘Smudge’ but I was a blonde in “Life Goes On”. I guess former Governor Palin does not have a sense of humor. I thought the line ‘I am the daughter of the former governor of Alaska’ was very funny. I think the word is ‘sarcasm.’”
In a follow-up interview with The New York Times Friedman said she felt the characterization was funny.
“Do you agree with what she and her daughter Bristol were saying, that the character and the jokes were insulting to people with Down syndrome?” the Times asked.
“It’s not really an insult,” she replied. “I was doing my role, I’m an actor. I’m entitled to say something. It was really funny. I was laughing at it. I had a nice time doing voiceover. It was my first time doing a voiceover, and I had fun.”
Freidman’s full interview with The Times is available here.
Palin’s daughter, Bristol, issued a statement rebuking Family Guy’s writers for allegedly using her brother disparagingly.
“As a culture, shouldn’t we be more compassionate to innocent people – especially those who are less fortunate?” Palin wrote in a statement posted on her mother’s Facebook page. “Shouldn’t we be willing to say that some things just are not funny?
“Are there any limits to what some people will do or say in regards to my little brother or others in the special needs community?” Palin’s daughter added. “If the writers of a particularly pathetic cartoon show thought they were being clever in mocking my brother and my family yesterday, they failed. All they proved is that they’re heartless jerks.”