Eddie Griffin Assaults and Humiliates Lesbian; Takes No Responsibility

via afterellen.com

On July 13 at Tommy T’s Comedy Club in Pleasanton, CA, comedian Eddie Griffin left the realm of humor and entered into unadulterated homophobia as he targeted audience member Fiona Walshe first for looking “rigid,” and then for being a lesbian. Griffin said, “I see what’s going on here. You’re a lesbian. All you need is a good man. I’ll volunteer my services to get in between the two of you to show you a good time. You won’t be needing any strap-ons or vibrators with me.”

He proceeded to air hump her face in a “violent sexual manner,” according to a statement released by Walshe’s lawyer. Walshe felt threatened, and reacted accordingly by throwing her drink in his face.

Walshe and her partner Leslie Champlin then attempted to leave the club, but Griffin jumped off of the stage and onto their table. He began throwing things at them, including drinks and salt and pepper shakers; he poured a bottle of water on Walshe’s head and threw that at her as well. Angry crowd members joined in, and the couple fled without receiving any protection from club security.

You can watch the final moments of the incident here:

Walshe felt sexually assaulted by Griffin’s actions. But upon reading that that was why she threw her drink at him, Griffin reacted with rage and more homophobia. According to TMZ, Griffin released the following statement on his Facebook page that has since been removed:

“These TMZ bitches said I assaulted a “WOMAN” at my show in cali. I don’t know what kind of eyes these mutha f**kas got but that dyke bitch threw a glass of whatever she was drinkin’ in my face. All over a joke about dyke bitches!”

He continued,

“Now TMZ be careful with your choice of words, I didn’t ASSAULT a goddamn thing! if I had a n*gga would be locked the fuck up. As usual, media doing sensationalism instead of journalism. Ya’ll better retract your story before i sue ya’ll bitch asses for defirmation of character!…or…rather what you really do…character assassination!!! You parasitic mutha F**kas!!!..TMZ these nuts bitch!!!”

As it turns out, it wasn’t even TMZ who reported the incident as an assault, and Griffin and TMZ have since made nice.

Ann Flagella, president of Griffin’s production company, is defending Eddie’s role in the incident. She claims that “Eddie was doing his job and making the audience laugh… ALL races, religions, genders and stereotypes are considered equal on stage and are all open for material.” Flagella claims that his use of the word “dyke” was “slang, and not derogatory,” and insists that Griffin is “upset” about being called homophobic.

But Walshe and her lawyer see it differently. Since the incident, Walshe has suffered from extreme anxiety and insomnia, and is seeking medical counseling. Though a lawsuit has not been filed, Walshe and Champlin have asked for an apology and compensation from both Griffin and Tommy T’s Comedy Club. They would like to be able to make amends without litigation. But considering the response they have gotten so far from Griffin and Flagella, an apology does not seem likely.

This incident is the latest in a series of conflicts involving comedians and the people they take advantage of for laughs. The comedy world is one of the final frontiers where bullying is acceptable; where hatred poses as humor and those who take offense are seen as humorless. It feels a lot like middle school.

I personally feel that if a comedian is actually talented, they shouldn’t need to pick on minorities to get cheap laughs out of the audience. There is nothing original, creative or funny about telling a lesbian that she just needs a good man. If Griffin is really a “good man,” he would apologize for humiliating and assaulting someone who paid to see him perform, rather than lashing out at her for defending herself.

I was recently at a comedy show with my girlfriend during which the performer made a joke about “women who look like men.” He summed up his feelings on the matter by saying, “That’s just wrong.” We held our breath and waited anxiously for the audience’s response, and were pleasantly surprised when the room fell into an uncomfortable silence. The performer quickly changed the subject, and didn’t try to make another homophobic joke for the rest of the evening.

But the audience at Tommy T’s club did the opposite, and supported Griffin by helping him to throw objects at Walshe. Many fans continue to support him with statements on his Facebook wall such as, “if you can fuck a hard plastic dick take a real joke.” Maybe I don’t find any of this funny since my dildos are mostly made out of silicone. Either way, I’m not laughing.

This story continues to develop as Walshe and her partner await their simple requests for an apology and compensation to be met. I hope that Walshe continues to stand her ground and demand the respect she deserves, for herself and for all minorities who want to attend a comedy show without fear of discrimination and sexual violence.

Gabrielle used to be a contributing editor at Autostraddle. These days, she's the editorial director at NYLON, an international media company for millennial women, which obviously she tries to make as gay as possible. She lives in Brooklyn and her two favorite colors are black and blonde.

Gabrielle has written 96 articles for us.

46 Comments

  1. ……I can’t even. My girl and I stopped going to see most straight, male comedians because we just couldn’t connect with their WOMEN ARE CRAZY MEN LIKE SEX LOL schtick. But this is just a whole ‘nother level.

    I’m so sorry that Walshe and her partner had to experience that. I really hope Griffin owns up to his disgusting behavior and compensates them with enough money to buy a thousand new strap-ons and vibrators.

    Jackass.

  2. Two gay people were literally chased from a club. What is this the Middle Ages? Why does he have to act in such a violent, homophobic and ignorant manner? Not only does his actions make all gay women feel unsafe (and make all women fear sexual assault from a man who thinks they’re “rigid”), but it also makes black people, particularly black men, look bad. He lives up to all the ugly stereotypes here – aggressive, predatory, and homophobic. How does this make gay women of color feel? Such conduct is simply unacceptable and disgusting, and cannot be tolerated, not in the name of “comedy” or otherwise.

    • I agree that what he did is, indeed, stereotypical of black men. However, to say that Griffin’s individual actions make all black men look bad in only to perpetuate the stereotype, because it assumes that Griffin is representative of his race. He’s not. He’s an individual. Saying that Griffin’s actions reflect poorly on his entire race, is to hold him to higher standards than his white counterparts, because it is essentially saying that blackness comes with the extra responsibility of having to represent your entire race. For example, when Daniel Tosh was making horrifying rape jokes, no one was saying that that reflected poorly on white people or even on men as a whole. My point is that no matter what kind of idiot lunatic Griffin is, he has just as much of a right to be an idiot lunatic as anyone else, without being held accountable for the stereotyping or the “image” of his race.

  3. That poor woman. I would have been so horrified if this had happened to me.

    What I can’t understand is that he threw things at her? What kind of comedy club atmosphere wouldn’t become enraged by this?

  4. Whaaat makes this okay?! So he chased two women out of his show after humiliating, assaulting, and chasing them down, and then what? He went back to making jokes? So women are worthy of being chased out of public buildings for not screwing men? Wow, this guy really makes me feel like I’m missing out.

    I need so many hugs after reading this.

  5. That is disgusting. I’m pretty sure even a straight woman wouldn’t like a strange man air humping in their direction, but to even insinuate that he can “cure” them with his body is just so ignorant. This dude is what is wrong with society today, I can’t believe he refuses to admit he did anything wrong. The club owners should be ashamed of themselves for not standing up to help these women.

  6. hi gabrielle!

    like 2 weeks ago i was at a comedy show my friend (the only woman, also the only gay person) was competing in with my sweetheart and some other people. literally EVERY other act was 100% cheap, uncomfortable shots. the last one was so terrible – jokes about black people, autistic children, lesbians, gay men with HIV, etc. – that myself and my girlfriend left in the middle. our friends told us later that our leaving spawned a whole other bit about how lesbians can’t take a joke and are ugly etc. etc.

    GOOD ONE, BRO

  7. It’s already been said, but this is disgusting in every sense of the word. I mean, the fact that the man was borderline sexually assaulting her was bad enough, but then other people started joining in? Ugh. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: making stupid jokes is one thing; making a member of your audience feel uncomfortable and threatened is an entirely different matter.

    And ‘defirmation’ just made me want to vomit.

  8. Holy sh*t. If that had been me man would be looking at assault charges!

    (Sorry, not to blame victims or accuse them of not doing enough. Just my gut reaction.)

    So f*cked up, I can’t even…this is why culture needs to change. Goddamn.

  9. whoaaaa, jumping on their table? butthurt much, eddie griffin? also, i’m getting tired of “all people are equally being made fun of.” that was just a poor excuse. if a gay man humped his face as part of a comedy act, i’m pretty sure he’d have the same reaction.(unless he secretly likes men) AGGHHHHHHHHH WHYYY. also, why do people gotta be such sheep. so sad.

  10. wait, this comedic genius warned TMZ to watch THEIR choice of words when talking about him, when a lot of the issue here is his (ab)use of words? Is he gonna fuck their face, too, if they don’t?

    what if Walshe would have dropped the “n” word on Griffin, saying she too was just using it as slang, you know, nothing derogatory? come on.

    just another entitled het man who lost his mind when he couldn’t comprehend that a pretty gay lady is not interested in his junk.

  11. There are so many levels of ignorance in this guy’s behavior, I don’t think I can even begin to parse them all.

    Before we toss all straight dude comedians under the bus, though, I want to plug comedian Dan Telfer. He’s a slightly effeminate hetero guy (and outspoken ally) who’s figured out how to talk about gayness in his routines in a way that’s both hilarious and smart. Also he’s got a hysterical schtick about dinosaurs.

  12. “what if Walshe would have dropped the “n” word on Griffin, saying she too was just using it as slang, you know, nothing derogatory? come on.”

    right! let larry the cable guy give Griffin a blackface lapdance, and see how much he hoots!

    it is a comedian’s job to make people laugh, and sure, not everyone has a sense of humour.
    i also get the comedian’s chagrin at contemporary cultures political correctness. But there’s just some shit that aint funny. and there’s also DELIVERY. I can get a controversial joke, like a dead baby joke or a gay joke, if its ironic. For instance, my friend nigel (who’s black) and I used to make terrible, crude jokes all day long at work. I’d make racist jokes in my best hillbilly accent, and he’d bust my balls about being a dyke. But he knows i:m not racist (I’m a woman of colour myself), and I know he doesn’t care that I’m queer (he’s not gay but he’s chill). He also doesn’t airhump my head or try to publicly humiliate me.

    Mocking bigotry by performing it in a humorous way is funny. Perpetuating bigotry by attacking and humiliating someone is not. performing the difference can be subtle, so if you’re a comedian and you cant do subtlety, then shut the f*ck up.

    But sexually assaulting audience members is not funny, especially after singling them out as a sexual minority. I can understand if Griffin were trying to be ironic, and if he hadn:t air humped her head, but he was obviously NOT being ironic, he was being an ignorant prick. While performing ironic humor successfully is a subtle art, the difference between irony and hate are glaringly obvious to any adult audience member with a grain of common sense.

  13. What is up with the “if you can take a dick you can take a joke” mentality? Tracy Morgan said it about gay men, and now some commenter on this. What do these two things have to do with each other? Does humor come from the sexual openings in the body?

    Wait, that can’t be, because then all these folks would be vaginas and assholes, and that’s insulting to vaginas and assholes.

    • Its a coded way to say that anyone who is not a straight male (those who supposedly do not ‘take dicks’) is not allowed to speak up

      + a good dose of dumb patriarchal “if youre on the receiving end of intercourse, then youre inferior” sentiment

    • “Does humor come from the sexual openings in the body?”

      That would explain so, so much about this entire debacle…and also why Griffin’s “jokes” represent an underlying feeling of insecurity in his, ah, humor-maker…

  14. If someone is gay that’s their business and they should not be beaten or harassed for it. If someone tries to bring up the religion argument, God loves everyone and will judge them accordingly at death. No human being has the right to do this to someone else. I understand Freedom of Speech. But Harassment is illegal. Sorry Eddie but that was illegal. He will get what he deserves. I just cannot believe he thinks he is funny and that other people find him funny too. He is right up there with Daniel Tosh and his rape jokes aimed maliciously at women.

  15. “if I had a n*gga would be locked the fuck up.”

    WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN? Is that English? I mean, slur aside, I don’t even know where to begin diagramming that sentence.

    • He’s missing a comma. I think what he meant to say was: “if I had [committed an illegal act], n*gga [referring to himself in the third person] would be locked the fuck up.”

      I had to read that four times to figure it out myself.

  16. Of course Eddie Griffin is a huge asshole, but I don’t think Walshe is a total saint in this either. I’m not defending Eddie Griffin in any way, but he’s not the only comedian who uses this crude style of comedy. I know what type of comedian Eddie Griffin is, which is why I would never be caught dead at his show. Same with Lisa Lampanelli. That’s their schtick…to insult. If you choose to sit front row at shows like this, then be prepared to take the heat. I feel like if a drink hadn’t been thrown in the first place, then this wouldn’t have ended up the way that it did. As rude as air humping your privates in someone’s face is, it’s not against the law. It would be no different than giving some random person the finger. Walshe was the aggressor in this case by throwing the drink in his face after the joke. In the comedy business, I guess Eddie’s style of comedy shouldn’t be a problem, but how he chose to handle audience member is. Throwing drinks back at Walsh and making those comments on facebook after the incident is what killed Eddie’s credibility as a stand up guy.

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