The comedian spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about a couple of his close friends who have become Hollywood pariahs of late — C.K. (who wrote the foreword to Macdonald's recent memoir) and Barr (who gave Macdonald his first break with a writing job on Roseanne). He also denounced the #MeToo movement.
Criticizing both left-wing liberalism and hard-right conservatism, Macdonald declared that "everyone is a fucking idiot" and said he hopes that "the pendulum will slow down in the next four years."
"I'm happy the #MeToo movement has slowed down a little bit," he continued. "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."
When pressed about people who admitted to wrongdoing, Macdonald didn't let up.
"The model used to be: admit wrongdoing, show complete contrition and then we give you a second chance," he said. "Now it's admit wrongdoing and you're finished. And so the only way to survive is to deny, deny, deny. That's not healthy — that there is no forgiveness."
Macdonald continued, explaining that after Barr lost her show over racist tweets, he put her in touch with the only person he knew who could empathize — Louis C.K., who lost his FX show, Netflix special and film release after confessing to sexual misconduct allegations.
"There are very few people that have gone through what they have, losing everything in a day," Macdonald said. "Of course, people will go, 'What about the victims?' But you know what? The victims didn't have to go through that."
Read the full Hollywood Reporter interview here.
Understandably, Twitter lost its mind over Macdonald's defence of Barr and C.K., and his criticism of #MeToo.
I can't get a Netflix special because I once had the audacity to share that a Netflix executive told me that because they had Chelsea Handler, they didn't need other women...— Kathy Griffin (@kathygriffin) September 11, 2018
Meanwhile, Norm Macdonald has a Netflix talk show....
Double Standard? I think so... https://t.co/wNlKik14j0
Norm Macdonald has a new show coming out on Netflix. I just checked my calendar and it looks like I can watch it never or never ever ever. https://t.co/gPMsjUjybd— Emily Brandwin (@CIAspygirl) September 11, 2018
You can measure exactly how badly Norm Macdonald screwed up today by the number of white supremacist misogynists who suddenly came out as lifelong fans.— Patrick S. Tomlinson (@stealthygeek) September 12, 2018
Norm Macdonald also said he didn't know that racism existed until Sasha Baron Cohen's show premiered this year. So maybe we should just... not listen to him? He seems not super well informed. Hard to make observational humor when you're not like... observing.— Ashley Nicole Black (@ashleyn1cole) September 11, 2018
Since the backlash, Macdonald has taken to Twitter to offer a response. He called Barr and C.K. his "very good friends," but denied that he defended their actions. He also apologized for "minimizing the pain" of their victims.
Roseanne and Louis have both been very good friends of mine for many years. They both made terrible mistakes and I would never defend their actions. If my words sounded like I was minimizing the pain that their victims feel to this day, I am deeply sorry.— Norm Macdonald (@normmacdonald) September 11, 2018
Despite the apology, NBC cancelled Macdonald's scheduled appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon last night (September 11).
NBC canceled Norm Macdonald's appearance on "The Tonight Show" after he made comments defending Louis C.K. and Roseanne Barr, saying their victims "didn't have to go through" what they did https://t.co/LeKh8Rq2cu— The New York Times (@nytimes) September 12, 2018
As of now, Norm Macdonald Has a Show is still scheduled to premiere on Netflix on September 14.