Kathy Griffin told Jesus to "suck it" after her Bravo show Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-Listwon Outstanding Reality Program honors during Saturday's 2007 Creative Arts Emmy Awards ceremony -- a sentiment that isn't sitting too well with Catholic League president Bill Donohue.
"Mel Gibson. Michael Richards. Isaiah Washington. Imus. Jerry Lewis. Every time a celebrity offends a segment of the population, he pays a price, in one way or another," said Donohue in a Monday statement. "The question now is whether Kathy Griffin will pay a similar price for her outburst. And as we have learned, her verbal assault was calculated."
2007 had marked the second year in a row in which Griffin's Bravo reality show had been nominated for Outstanding Reality Program, and it was finally able to overtake ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, which had won the award the last two years.
"I guess hell froze over," Griffin told a receptive audience as she accepted her Emmy statuette. "A lot of people come up here and thank Jesus for this. He had nothing to do with this... suck it Jesus, this award is my God now."
Donohue described Griffin's remarks as a "kind of vulgar in-your-face brand of hate speech" coming from a self-described "complete militant atheist," and pleaded with The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences' chairman and CEO Dick Askin to help in condemning what she said.
"It is incumbent upon Dick Askin... to denounce Griffin's obscene and blasphemous comment; a statement should also be read on Sunday [during Fox's live broadcast of the 59th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards]," said Donohue in the statement. "After all, it is his organization that is responsible for the Creative Arts Emmy event. Moreover, given the way the Hollywood crowd received Griffin's remark, it falls to Askin to distance the Academy from this outrageous incident. We are contacting Griffin's agent as well."
While the Academy told The Associated Press on Monday that it had no plans to address the issue during Sunday's live broadcast of the 59th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards beginning at 8PM ET on Fox, Griffin's acceptance speech will be censored when E! airs an edited two-hour version of the 2007 Creative Art Emmy Awards ceremony on Saturday, September 15 at 8PM ET/PT.
"Kathy Griffin's offensive remarks will not be part of the E! telecast on Saturday night," the Academy said in a Monday statement, according to The AP.
Donohue concluded his Monday statement by wondering if public sentiment would be different if the My Life on the D-List star had offended another religion besides Catholicism.
"It is sure bet that if Griffin had said, 'Suck it, Muhammad,' there would have been a very different reaction from the crowd and from the media who covered this event. To say nothing of the Muslim reaction," he said.
On Tuesday, Donohue issued another statement, this one expressing his pleasure with the Academy's statement that Griffin's speech would be edited for Saturday night's E! broadcast. However he still had harsh words for Griffin.
"The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences reacted responsibly to our criticism of Kathy Griffin's verbal assault on 85% of the U.S. population," said Donohue in the Tuesday statement. "The ball is now in Griffin's court. The self-described 'complete militant atheist' needs to make a swift and unequivocal apology to Christians. If she does, she will get this issue behind her. If she does not, she will be remembered as a foul-mouthed bigot for the rest of her life."
Donohue also offered others angered by Griffin's remarks the email address of Tim Curtis, her William Morris Agency agent (Monday's statement had included Askin's email address).