It seems insulting women is the “in” thing with late night comedians right now.
Lopez was belittling Alley's dancing on "Dancing With the Stars" on his show, "Lopez Tongiht." "She did a nice job, her little hooves tapping away. Before the show, she went to the market, and then she had roast beef and this is her going all the way home!" he said, before cutting to a squealing pig from a GEICO commercial.
Many were not amused by the callous “joke,” especially considering that 60-year-old Alley has struggled very publicly with weight issues over the years, at one point tipping the scales at 230 pounds and sparking speculation she suffers with a compulsive eating disorder.
"Lopez's comments were not only demeaning to Alley, who has been incredibly brave and open with her journey toward health, but they were very detrimental to women and girls everywhere," said Yana Walton, Vice President of Communications for watchdog group the Women’s Media Center. "In a country where eating disorders are an epidemic, where advertising continually implies women are deeply deficient, where media places the majority of women's worth on their appearances, this is unacceptable."
“Lopez should use his creativity to make jokes that aren’t this harmful," Walton said. "And Alley should be judged on her dancing. After all, this is a show about dance - it's not 'The Biggest Loser.’”
TBS declined to comment on Lopez’s remarks.
Terri Dougherty, editor of Women Magazine, feels some in Hollywood need to shape up and actually produce some original, funny material.
“Lopez made a cheap shot that simply was not very funny. Dancing is excellent exercise and I'm happy to see Kirstie out there. Making fun of a person's looks may be a standard part of comedians' acts, but this certainly was not a fresh or humorous take,” she said.
Author of “Love Your Body, Love Your Life” Sarah Maria said Lopez’s snide jab at Alley is offensive to all women.
“Lopez’s attempt at comedy is cruel, demeaning, and insulting. In an apparent attempt to make people laugh, Lopez chooses insults over intelligence,” she said. “Did Lopez even graduate from pre-school? Even without considering Alley’s personal ongoing weight struggle, such a cruel comment is an insult to women and men everywhere. One hopes that after pre-school, maybe at the very latest grade school, children outgrow such hurtful and inane comments.”
The National Organization for Women (NOW) was not available for comment.
But it isn’t only male comedians making disparaging weight-related remarks. Just a few months ago, comedian Kathy Griffin launched a “fat” attack against last season’s “Dancing With the Stars” contestant Bristol Palin, likening her to the 350-pound fictional character “Precious.”
According to experts we spoke to, just because one considers himself a comedian does not make it acceptable to criticize with brutality.
“If we are not constantly vigilant, sexism creeps back into the public media. This is just another example,” said Sondra Hale, a Professor of Women’s Studies and Anthropology at UCLA. “Sexism delivered in the disguise of comedy is still sexism.”
One of the world’s most successful stand-up performers, Sarah Silverman, recently told us that there is indeed a line that needs to be drawn.“I would go with anything I felt was funny, the line for me is if it bums me out or makes me heart feel bad to say,” she said.