US comedian Norm Macdonald's appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon has been hastily cancelled after he stirred controversy with his #MeToo remarks in a recent Hollywood Reporter interview.
In the article, Macdonald referred to how Louis C.K., Chris Hardwick and Roseanne Barr have been treated recently, saying he's "happy the #MeToo movement has slowed down a little bit".
"It used to be, 'One hundred women can't be lying.' And then it became, 'One woman can't lie.' And that became, 'I believe all women.' And then you're like, 'What?' Like, that Chris Hardwick guy I really thought got the blunt end of the stick there," Macdonald said.
Macdonald also said that he felt Barr was treated harshly in the storm that ensued after she likened Valerie Jarrett to an ape in an early morning tweet in May.
She was sacked and her Roseanne sitcom revival was cancelled within hours (it was ultimately revived as The Conners without Barr's involvement).
Macdonald, who got his start as a writer working on Barr's original ABC series, described Barr's struggle with the swirl of events.
"But she was just so broken and just crying constantly. There are very few people that have gone through what they have, losing everything in a day. Of course, people will go, 'What about the victims?' But you know what? The victims didn't have to go through that," Macdonald said.
Macdonald took to Twitter to apologise for his comments but NBC has pushed ahead with its decision. "Out of sensitivity to our audience and in light of Norm Macdonald's comments in the press today, The Tonight Show has decided to cancel his appearance," NBC said in a statement.
In his apology tweet, Macdonald said both Barr and C.K. were good friends of his who'd made terrible mistake. "I would never defend their actions," he said. "If my words sounded like I was minimizing the pain that their victims feel to this day, I am deeply sorry."
Macdonald also expressed his thoughts about Hannah Gadsby's viral hit Nanette, describing some of her messaging in the performance as "a slap in the face".
"I have never seen the Nanette thing because I never wanted to comment on it. But from what I have read about it, [Gadsby] is saying that comedy is now not about laughter," Macdonald said. "Of course that's a slap in the face of a traditional stand-up comedian who thinks that comedy by dictionary definition is about laughter. And that that's your job. You actually do have a job onstage.
"Nanette doesn't sound like stand-up to me. That sounds like a one-woman show. And one-person shows are, to me, incredibly powerful. But it's not stand-up comedy and it's not the same thing."
Macdonald's upcoming Netflix show, Norm Macdonald Has a Show, is due to premiere on the platform on Friday.