Daniel Tosh was heckled & that’s the real crime or how not to write a real headline

Daniel Tosh’s comments to the woman he joked about being gang-raped did not constitute an apology but a “fauxpology,”  as Vanessa pointed out yesterday.

Tosh uses some classic tricks to apologize, without really apologizing.

Trick One: I was misquoted. Tosh seeks to relieve himself of any responsibility, since, hey, he didn’t even say it.

Trick Two: I was the victim. Tosh seeks to undermins his apology by defending the point that started the entire interaction. He did nothing wrong but defend himself of a heinous violation–heckling! This is a weak apology at best and a passive aggressive dig at worst.

Does he really think people will not see the trickery he is employing to NOT apologize but say he is? Well, if he does, he’s right, because the media has reported his non-apology as the real thing.

Here are some examples:

Here some more headlines,

And some more….

There are tons more, but we don’t have all day. Only Adam Martin at the Atlantic Wire saw the weakness of the apology.

As if jokes about rape aren’t bad enough, the media reinforces the idea that they are acceptable when they fail to call out disingenuous apologies.


Born and raised on the mean streets of New York City’s Upper West Side, Katie Halper is a comic, writer, blogger, satirist and filmmaker based in New York. Katie graduated from The Dalton School (where she teaches history) and Wesleyan University (where she learned that labels are for jars.) A director of Living Liberally and co-founder/performer in Laughing Liberally, Katie has performed at Town Hall, Symphony Space, The Culture Project, D.C. Comedy Festival, all five Netroots Nations, and The Nation Magazine Cruise, where she made Howard Dean laugh! and has appeared with Lizz Winstead, Markos Moulitsas, The Yes Men, Cynthia Nixon and Jim Hightower. Her writing and videos have appeared in The New York Times, Comedy Central, The Nation Magazine, Gawker, Nerve, Jezebel, the Huffington Post, Alternet and Katie has been featured in/on NY Magazine, LA Times, In These Times, Gawker,Jezebel, MSNBC, Air America, GritTV, the Alan Colmes Show, Sirius radio (which hung up on her once) and the National Review, which called Katie “cute and some what brainy.” Katie co-produced Tim Robbins’s film Embedded, (Venice Film Festival, Sundance Channel); Estela Bravo’s Free to Fly (Havana Film Festival, LA Latino Film Festival); was outreach director for The Take, Naomi Klein/Avi Lewis documentary about Argentine workers (Toronto & Venice Film Festivals, Film Forum); co-directed New Yorkers Remember the Spanish Civil War, a video for Museum of the City of NY exhibit, and wrote/directed viral satiric videos including Jews/ Women/ Gays for McCain.

Katie is a writer, comedian, filmmaker, and New Yorker.

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  • http://feministing.com/members/x596201060405/ Dustin

    UPDATE: Laugh Factory owner Jamie Masada, who claims to have been present the night of Tosh’s show, has told Buzzfeed that the comedian’s exchange with the offended audience member didn’t happen the way she described.

    According to Masada, 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.” He says that this is when the woman called out to Tosh, and that he responded like so:

    “Daniel came in, and he said, ‘Well it sounds like she’s been raped by five guys’ — something like that. I really didn’t hear properly.”

    He also alleges that the woman stayed for the entire set and did not complain to management until after the show.


    Um, what if he was actually misquoted?

    Seems very few online media outlets are willing to actually investigate the story before jumping to all sorts of conclusions…

  • http://feministing.com/members/carlosthejackal/ Carlos The Jackal

    It’s disappointing that no one is really bringing up the fallacy of “The rape joke normalizes rape.” The idea that entertainment glorifies and normalizes terrible behavior is one of the most disproved ideas of the past century. It actually does the opposite. The reason people find jokes about horrible things like rape or the holocaust funny is precisely because those things are horrifying to us. Every time someone tells a rape joke it reinforces in our minds that the actual act of rape is horrible. We shouldn’t be concerned with people who laugh at rape jokes, we should be concerned with people that don’t.

    • http://feministing.com/members/jemma/ Jemma Howitzer

      Carlos, your comment just saps all will from me to comment on this article. Why are you commenting at feministing.com, if you know nothing of what you speak?

      • http://feministing.com/members/carlosthejackal/ Carlos The Jackal

        You’re right. Rape jokes normalize rape. Just like all the dead baby jokes normalize infanticide.

  • http://feministing.com/members/ckaczmarsky/ Courtney

    Talk about mainstream media reinforcing the idea that rape jokes are ok…On the show The View this morning, during the ‘Hot Topics’ segment, the hosts said a) that if someone heckles a comedian they should know what they are getting themselves into, and b) Rape jokes are ok (other comedians do it!). They also reiterated multiple times that despite this woman’s detailed description of the events that took place and the actual language of the joke being shared publicly by multiple sources, that they did not think it was clear exactly what happened during the show. Interesting, a woman not being believed about what she says happened actually happened, sounds familiar. Tosh seemed to be the person they felt bad for saying that without the internet this would not have happened and how tough it is for comedians these days. BS. Without TV and the Internet many of these comedians would not be where they are today. It was really infuriating to watch these women discuss this event as if the woman who spoke up was invisible. I think it was brave.

    • http://feministing.com/members/cassius/ Brüno

      Is the view aired on a channel that together with comedy central is owned by the same corporation?

  • http://feministing.com/members/sarahbee/ Sarah

    Also, at the risk of sound old-fashioned, since when do we accept Twitter as an appropriate channel for making apologies? Even if it had really sounded like an apology I would find the mere fact that it was made via Twitter a reason to question it’s sincerity.

  • http://feministing.com/members/cassius/ Brüno

    Media only understand one language, money. If you want tosh off the air, encourage people not to watch his show and do not watch it yourself.

    HOWEVER with all the talk that his slip up (calculated move?) generated Tosh will get a lot of attention now. Will it result in people boycotting him or tuning in?

  • http://feministing.com/members/carlosthejackal/ Carlos The Jackal

    So as it turns out, the woman in question lied about the incident.


    I think it’d be a productive discussion to have if someone wrote article on the subject of how false accusations like this demean the actual victims of rape and those who were genuinely threatened with rape. And how this furthers the negative stereotype that women lie about rape all the time.

    • http://feministing.com/members/mighty-ponygirl/ Mighty Ponygirl

      Wow — imagine that. The club owner, who could stand to lose a bit of business if his club becomes synonymous with comedians encouraging their audience to gang-rape an audience member, decides to suggest that bitches be lying. And imagine that, some dude who’s been all over the Daniel Tosh Apologia in other threads believes this to be proof that bitches be lying.

      • http://feministing.com/members/carlosthejackal/ Carlos The Jackal

        Clearly, she must have felt threatened at the comedy club. That’s why even in the original blog post her friend wrote that started this it was specifically stated that she stopped to complain to the manager and accepted tickets to come back. Because when you’re afraid of being raped, you stay and complain to the manager and make plans to come back to that place again. Yeah, you’re right. Doesn’t sound like a scam at all.

        Do you like bridges? Because I know a really great one for sale.