March 12th, 2019 – Catholic leaders in New York are speaking out against Saturday Night Live’s Pete Davidson after he compared the Catholic church to R. Kelly. The Diocese of Brooklyn issued a press release Monday demanding an apology from SNL, as well as NBC, for Davidson’s joke during the Weekend Update segment.
The sexual abuse charges against singer R. Kelly earned renewed attention last week when the singer sat down with Gayle King for an explosive interview. SNL decided to spoof the interview in their cold open, and then gave Davidson the chance to give his own take at the Update desk.
“This guy is a monster and he should go to jail forever,” Davidson told Weekend Update co-host Colin Jost. “But if you support the Catholic church, isn’t that, like, the same thing as being an R. Kelly fan? I don’t really see the difference…only, like, one’s music is significantly better.”
“The other day, my mom was like ‘I’m going to mass,’ and I was like ‘OK, I’m gonna go listen to the Ignition remix,'” he continued.
The bit was about four minutes long with the majority of time spent on Davidson weighing how you can still enjoy an artist’s work after their harmful personal life has been exposed. Catholic officials, however, zoned in on the first 30 seconds calling the harassment “disgusting” and the writers and cast’s attitude toward the subject “alarming.”
“Apparently, the only acceptable bias these days is against the Catholic Church,” the statement reads. “The faithful of our Church are disgusted by the harassment by those in news and entertainment, and this sketch offends millions. The mockery of this difficult time in the Church’s history serves no purpose.”
“The clergy sex abuse crisis is shameful, and no one should ever get a laugh at the expense of the victims who have suffered irreparably. The Diocese of Brooklyn strives every day to ensure that sexual abuse by clergy never happens again,” the Diocese went on to say.
The press release then goes on the defensive listing the ways they believe the Catholic church has actually addressed and combated the sexual abuse crisis culminating with this statement:
“It is likely that no other institution has done more than the Catholic Church to combat and prevent sexual abuse. The insensitivity of the writers, producers, and the cast of SNL around this painful subject is alarming.”
Davidson has been in hot water before, most notably last fall when he mocked then-GOP candidate Dan Crenshaw for the eye patch he wears after losing his eye in an IED blast while deployed to Afghanistan. SNL made the rare decision to issue a public apology by bringing Crenshaw to the Weekend Update desk the following week.
Neither SNL or any cast members have issued an apology as of this posting. On Saturday night, Davidson did give some some suggested lines to recite if you want to keep buying and enjoying products from disgraced figures — “You can buy a Mustang, but you have to say ‘Henry Ford hated the Jews’ as you buckle in” or “Mark Wahlberg beat up an old, Asian dude, and I would like one ticket to Daddy’s Home 3, please.”
So an apology may be unlikely from Davidson, but we’re guessing he may issue some lines to use before you head into confession.
Do you think SNL and Pete Davidson owe the Catholic church an apology? What did you think of the Weekend Update segment tying Catholicism to R. Kelly?