Everyone on Twitter Has Something to Say About Daniel Tosh’s Rape Joke

Offensive jokes vs. free speech: Celebs weigh in.

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Picture Group / Comedy Central

The question has been tabled: Can comedians make rape jokes?

Daniel Tosh, the star of the egregiously politically incorrect Comedy Central show Tosh.O, made such a joke at the expense of a female heckler during a standup set at the Laugh Factory in L.A., prompting torrents of criticism and debate after an anonymous audience member wrote about the incident on her Tumblr in a post entitled “A Girl Walks Into A Comedy Club.” Her post begins, “This is something that happened to a friend of mine in her own words,” and goes on to describe the incident:

“Tosh then starts making some very generalizing, declarative statements about rape jokes always being funny… I yelled out, “Actually, rape jokes are never funny!”

… After I called out to him, Tosh paused for a moment. Then, he says, “Wouldn’t it be funny if that girl got raped by like, 5 guys right now? Like right now? What if a bunch of guys just raped her…” and I, completely stunned and finding it hard to process what was happening but knowing i needed to get out of there, immediately nudged my friend, who was also completely stunned, and we high-tailed it out of there.”

Laugh Factory owner Jamie Masada, who claimed to have been present at the show, told Buzzfeed that the Tumblr post was not accurate. He claims that Daniel did not bring up the topic of rape, an audience member did. Additionally he made a more mild joke than the woman describes in the post—mild enough that the woman stayed for the whole set, rather than leaving like she claims in the post.

Tosh has oscillated between apologizing for and defending the joke on his twitter account since the post was picked up by the press.

He first tweeted:

But then wrote:

Since then, comedians, activists and assorted twitterati have come forward to either attack or defend the comedian.

Here’s the roundup:

What’s your take? Let us know in the comments or just air it out on twitter like everyone else.

UPDATE: Monday night, Louis C.K. appeared on The Daily Show to explain that he did not actually mean to defend Daniel Tosh. He was on vacation in Vermont when the incident blew up and did not know about Tosh’s rape joke when he posted that tweet:

“I was on vacation…I was in Vermont, and I was watching TV in the hotel room. And Daniel Tosh’s show comes on, Tosh.0. And it’s making me laugh. It’s a funny show. So I wasn’t reading the Internet at the time because that’s how I go on vacation: I really hate the Internet, so I just stop reading it. But I’m watching TV and Tosh is making me laugh, so I wrote a tweet to say ‘Your show makes me laugh.’ And then I put it down, and then two days later I come home and read these bloggers and The Hollywood Reporter saying, ‘Louis C.K. Defends Daniel Tosh Amid Rape Joke Controversy.’ I had no idea. He got in trouble for making these jokes about rape, and I didn’t know about it, so I’m a defender of rape. That’s what everybody says now…I’m being called a rape apologist because I said ‘Hi’ to a guy.”

Don’t worry, Louis C.K.! After last night’s Daily Show appearance, we forgive you and love you more than ever. For the comic’s actual views on the matter, see the entire clip here.

26 comments
Syd Kait
Syd Kait

Im willing to bet people who laugh at this shit have never been raped. My life is consumed by this pain, and this man reduces it down to a cheap joke. 

koreandude
koreandude

I have a hard time believing that anyone who watches Tosh would care about a rape joke. 

Malian Lahey
Malian Lahey

Rape Daniel Tosh!  Wouldn't it be funny if 5 guys raped him, like right now???

Sara Jo
Sara Jo

It's difficult to balance the right of an entertainer to make "shock value" jokes in order to gain more viewership and money with the harm caused by the social affects it has on a culture that looks up to entertainers as role models. As a rape survivor, I find it extremely scary that people find humor in one of the most horrifying things I've ever experienced. But I also recognize that most people are ignorant when it comes to these issues and considering their socialization it's difficult for me to blame them for a pure lack of understanding and ability to experience empathy in this matter. Tosh's jokes are clearly meant to keep his ratings high, and he's doing his job. Controversial and highly charged topics make money in entertainment. Unfortunately when something is joked about, it's lightened and society as a whole doesn't take it as seriously, which doesn't take away the harm it causes to the men and women who experience it, but rather leads to further invalidation of the harm and a higher prevalence of the act because of the wider acceptance of it being "okay." It'd be great if people didn't enjoy watching/hearing this shit or if we could separate the micro right of an individual making a personal choice in speech from the macro problem of role models in our society "okaying" terrible things and, inadvertently or not, encouraging harm to people. Unfortunately, none of this occurs this way, so the debate continues.

offenceintended
offenceintended

There is nothing off limits and there should be nothing off limits. You dont like his show dont go. Its simple

offenceintended
offenceintended

Nothing is off limits and nothing should be. Its a joke get over it. If your easily offended dont go to the show. Im sure no one will miss you

Brad Holman
Brad Holman

People need to get over themselves, especially women. Women seem to not have a very good sense of humor these days. I guess that's because of their "victim" culture. "Oh, I was molestered as a child! Oh, i was raeped in college! Oh, my  man got tired of my crap and beat my ass! OH OH OH Feel Sorry For Me Pleeeeeeease!"

Women need to grow up. The world don't revolve around them or their vag. Get that sand outta there! You ain't making pearls!

Offended yet? Good.

Decan Schroeder
Decan Schroeder

Tosh is being misquoted. Tosh didn't make a joke about the woman getting raped and the topic

arose when the comedian asked the audience what they wanted to talk

about and someone said "rape." Unbiased sources say that this is when the woman

called out to Tosh, and tosh he responded like so: 'Well it sounds like she’s been raped by five guys' That being said, it's fucking comedy club, offensive things are said in them all the time, if you don't want to be offended you need to stay out of them.

Starshiprarity
Starshiprarity

While I agree rape itself is not funny, in context he was making a situational irony joke.

Any hilarity that insued would be on par with someone talking about their superior spacial acquity and falling down a well.

David Redden
David Redden

Where is the list of topics comedians are not allowed to joke about, and who gets to make that list?

osamabinhussein
osamabinhussein

NO NOOOOO fuck this! So long as a comedian isn't walking around raping people and beating people up everything has to be free game. He is a fucking comedian he says some really horrible shit get over it!

Have some fucking respect for yourself and him! If your to fucking dumb to understand he is joking to push the limits and show how frail and stupid racism, sexism and bigotry is you deserve to be made fun of if you go to his show!

Andrew Jones
Andrew Jones

what i always thought about tosh:  idiotic frat boy humor.

Lizz Christed♔
Lizz Christed♔

p.s.  Tosh sucks, you suck and all over-privileged White Men suck and what they consider humor is a perfect example of why. 

Lizz Christed♔
Lizz Christed♔

That's your idea of "Everybody"?  A bunch of comedians supporting him, essentially.  Why not show a sampling of the range of opinions people had-- not much of a service to the story or to the essence of a real dialouge on the subject. 

Egor Minion
Egor Minion

I read the blog by the woman who felt insulted, and I read the buzzfeed response by the owner of the Laugh Factory which is misreported in most places and while it didn't let Daniel Tosh totally off the hook it didn't seem fair that the blogger was getting away with misrepresenting the facts either.  Then just look at what this @#$@% is showing on his Comedy Central blog page - it's a woman without anything but a top on, with her hands and feet tied to a toilet, and Daniel Tosh's idiot fans are writing horrible things about how they'd "do" that, redneck abortions, sloppy seconds on and on.  I've laughed at Daniel Tosh in the past, and I wanted to support the guy thinking yeah he pushed things but maybe now he'll back off -  but this picture's been up for over 24 hours and it's like confirmation of all the worst things that I'd previously ignored or overlooked or just wanted to think that people/comedians/Daniel Tosh just couldn't be this insensitive, this stupid, this mean - but apparently they are.   And this is not funny. http://tosh.comedycentral.com/...

Mitch Norman
Mitch Norman

I think that he is an offensive comedian. That's his bit. And if you can't handle that then shut up and feel free to leave. Don't watch something that you hate and ruin it for people who are mature enough to understand its just a joke. People get raped and nothings going to entirely stop that from happenening. We can live life crying everytime some one mentions something we dont like, we can turn the world mute, or we can put on our big girl panties and man the hell up.

derision
derision

Comedians can make rape jokes. Quite a few have already, and I admit in my past when I was too naive to know how bad rape really was, I laughed at them. I can still watch comedians who make rape jokes, and I have nothing against them for doing so. It gives me an uneasy feeling in my stomach when they bring it up, but I can tolerate it because I understand the whole "offensive = funny" thing. But that really doesn't change the fact that even in offensive comedy, there are lines that cross the boundary out of funny and into hurtful.

The owner of Laugh Factory really did NOTHING to help Tosh in his side of the story. All he did was recharacterize Tosh's gang rape joke from a failed on-the-fly joke to deal with what he perceived as a heckler into a malicious attack on a woman who disagreed with the suggestion of another audience member. If Masada really wanted to help Tosh, he should've just kept his idiot face shut.

I'm going to take a guess and say there were 250 people (a full house at the Hollywood Laugh Factory) at that show that night. If it was an even 50-50 male-female split, then it's statistically likely Daniel Tosh intended to tell rape jokes to 29 rape victims and anywhere between 5 and 20 male rapists (based on conflicting reports of how many men have committed rape).

@facebook-1576751992:disqus  Several reasons. According to society, men aren't valid as victims of rape. Also, it is perceived that they "deserved" it, because they're a criminal (even if they're wrongly convicted) and deserve whatever comes to them.

John Forsthoffer
John Forsthoffer

But when someone makes a joke about not dropping the soap in prison, everyone laughs. So what is funny about a man getting raped in jail? 

f_galton
f_galton

I have nothing to say about this.

Scones1
Scones1

You sound like a perfectly normal person with on anti- male  bias AT ALL. Whether you like it not, Tosh was in a comedy club performing his job and it's pretty typical for his type of show.  I have laughed out loud at extremely inappropriate Tosh jokes in the past because they were undeniable hilarious. Humor is subjective but you don't sound like you laugh, ever. 

frewrewgf
frewrewgf

Wouldn’t it be funny if this girl got raped by like, 5 guys right now? Like right now? What if a bunch of guys just raped her

montgomery425
montgomery425

Yeah, she's not tied up thats women's underwear if you've never seen it...Daniel Tosh is an equal opportunist, he does not single out any one person, place, event, or stereotype.  He simply says what in his mind is funny, and is holding Tosh accountable for his fans point of view is absurd.  If you don't like him don't watch him, and as for the girl who blogged about Tosh; you should never heckle a comedian..like ever, if you really don't like what they're saying you should leave.  There is no reason too yell out at someone who is literally doing there job.

Malian Lahey
Malian Lahey

Actually, Mitch Norman, there are many cultures where rape was nonexistent.  Anthropologists studying Native Americans often found no word for rape in the language; one managed to find a word that approximated rape and that word translated literally into English was "a man looked at me in a way that I don't like".  

Our rape culture was started by the Romans.  It was their strategy for making sure that conquered people stayed subjugated - humiliate their women and leave them pregnant with Roman children.  Classy.

So what Tosh is actually tapping into is that in our war culture rape is OK and normal.  In the US military there were approximately 19,000 rapes in one year.  

Rape culture also leads to the crisis of child rape that is now epidemic in the United States.  Want to blame the Catholic church?  Remember - it's the *Roman* Catholic church.  So the cultural heritage of Catholic rape culture traces the same lineage as our war rape culture.

Not planning to "man up" anytime soon, BTW.  There's nothing wrong with being a woman.  In fact, you might try to "woman up" and accept the fact that we all have vulnerabilities that we don't want to have violated.

Sheepleherder
Sheepleherder

"Joking" about some hypothetical prisoner in some hypothetical jail is a whole lot different than proclaiming how "funny" it would be to gang rape a particular person, in real time, who's sitting right in front of you. That's not the least bit funny, or cute, or hip or anything other than an assault on that woman. Assuming you have one, if he were to say those things to your wife/girl friend/mother sitting with you at the theater wouldn't you find it offensive to the point where you might actually have to confront that person?? I would think that most people in that circumstance, would not find the comment in the least bit funny.

Wren Dreolin
Wren Dreolin

I don't know, I can deny the "hilarity" pretty well.