Since it was shown on Sunday, an episode of the Fox animated comedy “Family Guy” has drawn the repeated condemnation of Sarah Palin, the former Republican governor of Alaska and 2008 vice-presidential nominee.
In the episode, the teenage character Chris dates a girl named Ellen, who has Down syndrome, and who tells him over dinner that her mother is “the former governor of Alaska.” Ms. Palin, whose son Trig also has Down syndrome,
One person who supports the “Family Guy” staff is Andrea Fay Friedman, the 39-year-old actor and public speaker who played Ellen in that episode. Like the character, Ms. Friedman also has Down syndrome.
In an e-mail message sent on Thursday to The New York Times, Ms. Friedman wrote:"I guess former Governor Palin does not have a sense of humor. I thought the line “I am the daughter of the former governor of Alaska” was very funny. I think the word is “sarcasm.” In my family we think laughing is good. My parents raised me to have a sense of humor and to live a normal life."
Q. "Do you agree with what she and her daughter Bristol were saying, that the character and the jokes were insulting to people with Down syndrome?
A.It’s not really an insult. I was doing my role, I’m an actor. I’m entitled to say something. It was really funny. I was laughing at it. I had a nice time doing voiceover. It was my first time doing a voiceover, and I had fun.
Q. "When you get asked to play characters who have Down syndrome, does that make you at all uncomfortable?
A. "No, I’m proud of it. I’m not embarrassed. But mostly, it doesn’t matter if you have Down syndrome. Really, it just matters to have a different challenge."