'Family Guy' Actress With Down Syndrome Skewers Sarah Palin
By Marc Schneider Posted Feb 19th 2010 11:31AM
Sarah Palin raised a ruckus this week over a 'Family Guy' episode that seemed to poke fun at her son with Down syndrome. "My mom is the former governor of Alaska," said a character named Emily with the disorder. Palin called it a "kick in the gut." Her daughter, Bristol, said the show was filled with "heartless jerks."
What they didn't anticipate was the full-throated response from the woman who actually voiced Emily, an actress with Down syndrome named Andrea Fay Friedman, who sent a letter to the New York Times where she scolds the former vice presidential candidate for lacking a "sense of humor."
"I think the word is 'sarcasm,'" she wrote, mockingly. In the most pointed section of her letter, Friedman accuses Palin of using her son Trig as a political prop.
"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," she skewered in a portion of the letter that, amazingly, the Times left out of their article.
Full text of Friedman's letter (courtesy of the blog, Palingates) below:
In her comments on Monday, Bristol Palin said if 'Family Guy' writers "thought they were being clever in mocking my brother and my family yesterday, they failed.""My name is Andrea Fay Friedman. I was born with Down syndrome. 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 my family, we think laughing is good. 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."
In a short interview with the Times' Arts Beat blog, Friedman insisted she was "making fun of Sarah Palin, but not her son."
"It's not really an insult. I was doing my role, I'm an actor," said Friedman, who got her big break at age 21 on the show 'Life Goes On.' "I'm entitled to say something. It was really funny. I was laughing at it."
It will be interesting to see whether Palin responds to Friedman's comments. And if she chooses to respond, what will she say? Palin would be hard-pressed to question Friedman's sensitivity to the issue, which has been her tactic of choice in her recent tirades against 'Family Guy' and White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. So far, she has yet to take to her Facebook, the former governor's preferred medium for her frequent tounge-lashings.
Friedman, who soon turns 40, has been spending the past several years as a public speaker and also works at a law firm. She said she'd love to get another role on 'Saving Grace,' the TNT show she appeared on in 2008.
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