Sandra Bernhard Gripes About Lost Gig Over Palin Attack on Abortion, Rape

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 3, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Sandra Bernhard Gripes About Lost Gig Over Palin Attack on Abortion, Rape

by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 3
, 2008

Washington, DC ( — Comedian Sandra Bernhard isn’t laughing about a woman’s shelter in Boston canceling her speaking engagement over an attack she made on Sarah Palin. Bernhard made a crude remark about Palin becoming a victim of rape but she insists her comments were only about abortion and taken out of context.

Bernhard’s initial comments came in a one-woman stand up show Bernhard did last month in Washington, D.C. During the event, Bernhard said Palin would be "gang-raped by my big black brothers" and the comments came in a diatribe against Palin’s pro-life views.

The Boston-based Rosie’s Place, a domestic violence shelter for women, had planned to feature the comedian at an October 16 fundraising event but canceled.

Sue Marsh, Rosie’s executive director, said she was "shocked and deeply disturbed" when she heard about the comments.

Now, Bernhard says her comments were taken out of context and that she had meant them as an attack on Palin’s pro-life views, including opposing abortion in the very rare cases of rape or incest.

She tells the Associated Press they were intended to ask a question of what Palin would do if she found herself sexually assaulted by black men and became pregnant.

She said the comments were meant to focus on "women, racism, freedom and the extreme views of Gov. Sarah Palin."

"In no way am I making any sort of joke about crimes against women – quite the contrary. I’m speaking out about someone who doesn’t do enough to protect women," Bernhard said.

"I think if you look at the real issues I’m addressing, my intent becomes clear. I am a die-hard advocate for women’s rights, and fully support the work of Rosie’s Place," she told AP.

The comedian also claims she never used the term "rape" or "gang rape," but she said she couldn’t recall the exact words she used.

She told the New York Daily News she "addressed the issue if Sarah Palin had, God forbid, been violated, would she be willing to care for the baby?"

Rosie’s Place public relations director Leemarie Mosca told AP that the decision is final.

"Right now, our main focus is our event and making sure the event is a success," Mosca said. "And for us, that means not including Sandra Bernhard at this time."

This week, Palin gave an inteview to Katie Couric in which she explained her views on rape and abortion.

The governor said she would encourage women victimized by rape to choose life for their babies.

“I would counsel to choose life,” she said. “But I would also like to take it one step further. Not just saying I am pro-life and I want fewer and fewer abortions in this country, but I want them, those women who find themselves in circumstances that are absolutely less than ideal, for them to be supported, and adoptions made easier.”

Asked to follow up on abortions in cases of rape or incest, Palin reaffirmed her pro-life stance against them.

“I’m saying that, personally, I would counsel the person to choose life, despite horrific, horrific circumstances that this person would find themselves in,” Palin said.

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