Family Guy's Down Syndrome Actress Responds To Sarah Palin

The actress that did the voiceover for Ellen, the Down Syndrome Girl on Sunday's "Family Guy," has responded to her critics including Sarah and Bristol Palin.

As NewsBusters previously reported, the hit Fox cartoon series took a swipe at the Palins by making a joke involving Down Syndrome and the former Alaskan governor.

On Tuesday, Sarah and Bristol posted their feelings about this segment at Facebook.

Now, Andrea Fay Friedman, the actress behind Ellen's voice, has responded in a Q&A posted at the New York Times ArtsBeat blog (h/t HotAirPundit):

In an e-mail message sent on Thursday to The New York Times, Ms. Friedman wrote:

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. [...]

Q. When you get asked to play characters who have Down syndrome, does that make you at all uncomfortable?
 
A. No, I’m proud of it. I’m not embarrassed. But mostly, it doesn’t matter if you have Down syndrome. Really, it just matters to have a different challenge.
 
Q. When did you find out about the reaction that the episode elicited from Sarah Palin and her family?
 
A. [laughs] That I did not even know about until my mom told me, “You’re on Channel 4!” And when I watched on Channel 4, on “Extra,” and I saw Sarah Palin with her son Trig. I’m like, “I’m not Trig. This is my life.” I was making fun of Sarah Palin, but not her son.
 
Q. 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?
 
A. It’s not really an insult. 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.
Of course, Friedman is entitled to her opinion, and is to be commended for responding to the Palins' concerns.
 
However, as neither she nor her family were the target of this joke, she is not the arbiter of decency; as much as she had the right to participate in this farce as an actress, the Palins have the right to be offended by it. 
 
*****Update: It should be noted that Friedman also has Down Syndrome. 
 
Of additional interest, according to the website Palingates, the Times edited her e-mail message. The following apparently is the complete text:
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.

Seem like Ms. Friedman might have an agenda?

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.