A New York City church has demanded Pete Davidson apologise after he compared the actions of the Catholic Church to those of R. Kelly.
Last month, the rapper was charged in Chicago with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse involving four women, three of whom would have been minors at the time.
A movement called #MuteRKelly encouraged Kelly’s record label, as well as concert promoters, tickets sellers and streaming services, to sever ties with the singer and remove his songs from playlists.
The 52-year-old was dropped by his record company in February, following the release of eye-opening documentary Surviving R. Kelly, which provided a comprehensive look at the allegations made against the singer.
This weekend (March 9), Davidson shared his thoughts about Kelly on the most recent episode of Saturday Night Live, where he called the rapper a ‘monster’.
But if you support the Catholic Church, isn’t that like the same thing as being an R. Kelly fan?
I don’t really see the difference, only like, one’s music is significantly better.
His comments were met with a few claps and chuckles as well as gasps from the audience, but the jab really angered those who’d been called out. Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, from The Diocese of Brooklyn, released a statement arguing that using the history of the church for a comedy sketch was insensitive.
He urged the SNL star to apologise, writing:
The Diocese of Brooklyn is demanding an immediate public apology from “Saturday Night Live” and NBC after Saturday night’s disgraceful and offensive skit in which cast member Pete Davidson, during the Weekend Update segment, said: “If you support the Catholic Church, isn’t that the same thing as being an R. Kelly fan?” The statement clearly shocked the studio audience as gasps could be heard off camera.
Apparently, the only acceptable bias these days is against the Catholic Church. The faithful of our Church are disgusted by the harassment by those in news and entertainment, and this sketch offends millions.
The statement continued:
The mockery of this difficult time in the Church’s history serves no purpose.
The clergy sex abuse crisis is shameful, and no one should ever get a laugh at the expense of the victims who have suffered irreparably. The Diocese of Brooklyn strives every day to ensure that sexual abuse by clergy never happens again.
For nearly two decades, the Diocese of Brooklyn has taken this crisis seriously and instituted widespread changes mandated by the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People…
It is likely that no other institution has done more than the Catholic Church to combat and prevent sexual abuse. The insensitivity of the writers, producers, and the cast of SNL around this painful subject is alarming.
According to Complex, the ‘difficult time’ the release mentions refers to the ongoing investigation into sexual molestation claims made against multiple New York City Catholic officials.
Neither Davidson nor Saturday Night Live appear to have responded to the statement at this time.
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Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.