Not everyone was laughing about Pete Davidson’s joke on last weekend’s episode of “Saturday Night Live.”
The comedian opened his appearance on the faux-news “Weekend Update” segment with a line that drew some titters and stunned “oooooohs” from the audience: “This guy is a monster and he should go to jail forever,” Davidson said, referring to R&B singer R. Kelly, who has been accused of sexually abusing young women. “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, except for one’s music is significantly better.”
Definitely not amused was the Catholic Church’s Diocese of Brooklyn, which on Monday released a lengthy statement condemning the joke and seeking an “immediate public apology” from the sketch comedy show and from NBC, the network that airs it. “The faithful of our Church are disgusted by the harassment by those in news and entertainment, and this sketch offends millions,” the statement reads, in part. “The mockery of this difficult time in the Church’s history serves no purpose.”
Davidson’s bit continued with him joking that his mom had informed him that she was attending Mass. “And I was like, ‘Okay, I’m going to listen to the ‘Ignition’ remix,’” he said, referring to an R. Kelly song.
Church officials on Monday slammed Davidson for making light of the sexual abuse scandal the church has been grappling with in recent years. “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 statement continued. “The insensitivity of the writers, producers, and the cast of SNL around this painful subject is alarming.”
This Davidson joke probably won’t end the way his last humor controversy did: The SNL cast member took the rare step of apologizing last year to Rep. Dan Crenshaw after mocking the eye patch that the Texas Republican wears, saying he looked like a “hit man in a porno movie.” Crenshaw, who was wounded while serving in Afghanistan, appeared alongside Davidson in a feel-good segment accepting the mea culpa.