Will Farrell’s Bit at the 2013 Emmy’s….were you offended?

Will FerrellHi Peeps! An interesting discussion started on my Facebook feed today about my choice of sharing a video of Will Farrell at the 2013 Emmy Awards. As you may or may not have heard, Farrell brought his three kids on stage and did, what I thought, was a hilarious parody of not being able to find last minute child care for his kids. Watch the clip here and see for yourself what the whole bit was about.

My choice to share the video on my personal Facebook page raised some concern from a a few friends who were offended by Farrell’s “nut allergy reference” (though I still don’t understand what he was even trying to imply in his comment, because it was more of a rambling statement rather than a coherent one.) A reference was made about Farrell’s 2012 alleged prank on his cast mate, Zach Galfiadias who apparently had a life-threatening allergy. So, because I’m kinda lazy and don’t feel like editing my response about this from my FB page, and because what I wrote is really from my heart, I figured I’d just literally cut and paste my comment about it here, and open up the discussion to you guys. I’m very curious to know what you think. Were you pissed? Offended? Thought it was funny? Or not? Or did you even care? Let me know, because I’d love to know:

Will Farrell allegedly pranked his cast mate Zach Galfiadias, knowing he was allergic. The story was originally shared on The Daily Show, and I’m not certain it was determined if the event actually happened. But btwn that, the Portlandia bs segment, and many other things that have portrayed allergies as something that isn’t life-threatening pisses me off to no end. It always feels like whatever work I’ve done to advocate or educate is negated through people’s careless comments. I have learned over the years to really be thoughtful about the things I take issue with, because you simply cannot fight every fight, or tackle every comment or issue that comes up. I have heard my fair share, either directly or indirectly of really, horrible and mean spirited comments about the validity of my son’s allergies, or about my work, or my books. I’ve read vile comments about me in the comments sections of news articles. i have been emailed nearly every day or every couple days FOR YEARS from people who are pissed at me, my blog, my outspoken advocacy work. I have learned to ignore 98 percent of it now, because the negativity that used to be thrown at me would literally exhaust me. At some point I realized I have control over my reaction to such things, but I can’t control what others say or do. I fight like mad for our children’s rights at school, because that’s worth it to me. I don’t fight the shitty emails. I don’t fight the shitty comments I hear through the grapevine about me at the grocery store. I don’t fight dumbass comments. Regarding this clip, to me, it’s a hilarious parody of what every mom kind of has to go through…the nut allergy comment was literally “a nut allergy”…and the context in which he used it didn’t even really make much sense, so I really, truly believe he flippantly used the comment while he ad libbed through the segment with his kids. I honestly didn’t take offense to it because I didn’t see it as him trying to attack, or make fun of people with food allergies. Even so, it’s totally cool to get pissed off at his remark. I’m just not offended by it when there is so much other stuff I choose to take issue with. Now, the Joel Stein column? I DID take issue with that bullshit very loudly as you may recall in my blog years ago. That was worth it to me to call out. Will Farrell at the Emmy’s? Not so much. But believe me, if I ever did meet him, I would ask, and then if he answered like an ass, then he’d get my foot up his.

So what do you think about it all? And how do you feel about what you choose to take issue with or not? Do you pick and choose your battles? Or do you believe every battle is worth it if it means others will be educated about the dangers of food allergies? How do you handle negative comments?

20 Responses

  1. I thought his bit was funny. I did notice the “We had a nut allergy” part, but I wasn’t offended. I agree with you in that I don’t think his intent was to make fun of those with food allergies. However, I do think this shows that so many people still don’t “get it” when it comes to food allergies, because if they did, I would think (and hope) they wouldn’t joke about it. Just my opinion. 🙂

  2. Not offended at all! It was funny. He was not makin gun of a nut allergy. He was just listing off a bunch of things that parents have to deal with when dealing with juggling children and their own social/work obligations.

  3. It is very offensive. A food allergy is never funny! It isn’t policially correct to use other forms of negative connotations regarding other “challenged” groups. Why would this be ok? I tried to find a way to communicate with Mr. Ferrell after the first incident, but couldn’t. Bullying at its finest.

  4. First, thank you Kelly for what you do. I’ve been a reader forever and your recipes/blog/book have changed our lives.

    My thoughts on Will Ferrell’s reference to a nut allergy were such that it didn’t even register as something to be offended by. His humor is ad libbed and in the moment, and as an SNL alum, follows in line with the pulse of our current culture. He was ad libbing about his rushed morning as a harried parent and references to soccer, birthday party and nut allergy were nothing more than references to daily life as a dad.

    I’m disappointed that anyone could have been offended by that. Food allergies aren’t shameful secrets, they are facts of life, just like the soccer game and birthday party he referenced. We can’t even mention them as we joke about all the things parents have to consider as they navigate daily life with their kids?

    If anything, score one for the food allergy folks, even Will Ferrrell is tuned in to the need to be aware!

    • I don’t have much to say. I feel that if you if get upset about someone just mentioning the words nut allergy, then you must have a very pampered life with no real frustrations. This did not offend me in the slightest. It didn’t even occur to me that some could possibly be offended by it.

      Thanks Kelly!

  5. I agree with the above comment that I took it as nothing more then in a day of the life of a dad…maybe even that the birthday child had a nut allergy and he was aware of it. I think it’s dumb to be offended by it.

  6. Kelly- I have to say that I appreciate that you speak from the heart whether everyone agrees or not 🙂 You are awesome.

    I did not take offense to the bit- it was so fast and fleeting that (I feel) it wasn’t directed at anyone or anyhting, he just kind of threw it in there. I have learned you have to laugh at others and yourself because it’s not always going to be the politically correct way. All you can do is believe in yourself and move forward.

  7. I didn’t watch the emmys so than you for the link, having said that, I don’t see what there is to be offended at. . If anything I was touched that. . If true. .. he was looking for child care and with a food allergy it IS HARD to find someone to trust your kids with! I say cheers to him. .. this time 😉

  8. I agree with Kelly and JulieL. Food allergies are a fact of life and need to be recognized as just that. Being an adult and having had a severe egg allergy all my life, it’s another consideration in my day like choosing what shoes to wear – I choose carefully and thoughtfully what I eat. Fortunately, my children do not have allergies, so I have not been faced with that worry.

    You, Kelly are spot on regarding picking your battles. Some battles are not worth the effort and mental gymnastics because people prefer to be ill informed and dogmatic. Sadly my own in-laws didn’t “believe allergies were real” until I had a life threatening incident with margarita mix that contained egg albumen.

    We can all go on with “war stories, but the best way to promote allergy awareness is to get it out there – be it Will Ferrell or whoever.

  9. I am not offended. Will Farrell is a comedian and comedians make jokes about sensitive topics all the time. On some level the more food allergies come up in conversations and in the media the more awareness it brings. If we can find a little humor in it, that is a coping mechanism to help deal with something really stressful. One day I was watching Yo Gabba Gabba with my son who has egg, peanut, and nut allergies and it was Broby birthday and he was upset that he couldn’t have the cake because egg was in it. It was on TV. I told him to pretend eat. It was a little bit funny to me. I take my son’s allergies very seriously.

  10. I was more shocked that he even “went there” considering the bad press from last year’s “nut incident” with his costar Zach Galfiadias.

    I appreciate everyone’s point of view on this and makes me realize (and hoping) that perhaps it is just “making it normal”, but my mind keeps thinking if any other disability or illness were interjected in his routine, there would be HUGE backlash. (i.e. Parkinson’s, diabetes, autism, etc….)

    I was surprised that you posted it simply because I get the feeling we think the same way when it comes to educating, advocating, navigating and tolerating the world of food allergies. I am glad to have another vantage point from which to view this situation.

    I realize this situation doesn’t come close to the Joel Stein issue, it just rubbed me the wrong way.

  11. First time on your blog and saw this provocative article and had to watch the clip and see for myself how I’d feel about it. After watching it, I am not offended and feel the opposite. I’m glad he said it b/c for a fleeting moment it gave viewers insight to the concerns of leaving your child with allergies with anyone that isn’t familiar and well-versed in allergy avoidance and ingestion medical plan. My kids have allergies and we carry Epipens/Benadryl with us at all times. It’s not easy to explain to someone not familiar with allergies, or in the medical field, the procedures to take in case of an emergency. Or maybe his reference meant his kid possibly ate a nut and he wanted to keep an eye on his child. I know his act was all part of a joke, but whatever his reference to a nut allergy meant (if he even gave it that much thought), I think he brought the issue to light for a split second.

    Thanks for what you are doing and I’ll be back to your blog!

  12. After watching the clip, it seemed to me that he was about talking about the reasons it was difficult for him to find last minute childcare, the allergy specifically being one he was worried about.

    The prank on Zach Galifianakis however is, and never will be okay, and just goes to show how much further allergen awareness needs to go.

  13. I loved it! people need to lighten up and stop assuming that everyone is attacking or bullying…so because a person mentions a nut allergy, they’re a bully? bizarre. He’s simply listing the plethora of things parents have to think about when trying to get proper child care.

  14. Not at all offended! As others above suggested, it’s nice to have someone understand (or pretend to understand) the realities of living with a child who has food allergies. I’d be in the same position if someone asked me last minute to present at the Emmys. 🙂

    I will say that I wasn’t such a fan of all the profanity used in the comment cut and pasted from a personal Facebook page. Just had a personal allergy situation involving my kids and my in-laws blow up partly because *I* used profanity…not the best way to communicate even a valid point. I send a lot of people to this page and hate that the first thing they might see would be those kinds of words.

  15. I’m not at all offended by his comment. He wasn’t hurting anyone in mentioning it. However, the prank was hurtful and not funny at all.

    I get upset when someone makes a truly offensive comment about food allergies. Most of the time those people know nothing about food allergies and therefore have no idea of the cautions people with food allergies have to take, nor do they understand how serious an allergic reaction can be.

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