Dan Crenshaw, a veteran running for U.S. Representative in Texas, said Saturday Night Live comedian Pete Davidson does not owe him an apology, despite the outrage the joke caused.
During Davidson's segment on "Weekend Update," he joked about the Houston Republican, who lost his eye while serving in Afghanistan.
“This guy’s kinda cool, Dan Crenshaw,” Davidson joked while Crenshaw's face was on the screen. “You may be surprised to hear that he’s a congressional candidate from Texas, and not a hitman in a porno movie.”
The laughter from the audience was awkward, so Davidson added, “I’m sorry, I know he lost his eye in war, or whatever.”
The comments drew outrage, particularly from conservative commentators. Crenshaw himself waited until Sunday afternoon to weigh in.
Good rule in life: I try hard not to offend; I try harder not to be offended. That being said, I hope @nbcsnl recognizes that vets don’t deserve to see their wounds used as punchlines for bad jokes.— Dan Crenshaw (@DanCrenshawTX) November 4, 2018
"Good rule in life: I try hard not to offend; I try harder not to be offended. That being said, I hope [Saturday Night Live] recognizes that vets don’t deserve to see their wounds used as punchlines for bad jokes," Crenshaw tweeted.
Crenshaw also sent a video to TMZ, in which he said there is no apology needed.
"I wanted to get away from this culture where we demand apologies every time someone misspeaks," Crenshaw said in the clip. "I think that would be very healthy for our nation... to go in that direction. We don't need to be outwardly outraged. I don't need to demand apologies from them. They can do whatever they want. They're feeling the heat from around the country right now and that's fine."
However, Crenshaw went on to offer some comedy advice to Davidson.
"I would like him and Saturday Night Live to recognize something, which is that veterans across the country probably don't feel as though their wounds they received in battle should be a bad punchline for a bad joke. And here's the real atrocity from all this: It wasn't even funny. It wasn't original. It was not funny. It was just mean-spirited and that's how I feel about it."
According to Crenshaw's website, he was deployed overseas five times while a member of SEAL Team Three. He lost his eye during his third deployment in 2012 after he was wounded by an IED blast in Helmand province, Afghanistan. Doctors first believed he was completely blind, but he regained eyesight in his remaining eye and was deployed overseas two more times.
While Crenshaw took the high road in the situation, National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Jack Pandol called on Davidson and NBC to apologize and referenced Davidson's recent split with Ariana Grande.
“Getting dumped by your pop star girlfriend is no excuse for lashing out at a decorated war hero who lost his eye serving our country,” Pandol said, reports the Texas Tribune. “Pete Davidson and NBC should immediately apologize to Dan, and to the millions of veterans and military families who tune in every weekend – because they’re not laughing.”
Todd Litton, Crenshaw's Democratic opponent, also said Crenshaw's service should not be joked about.
"No matter what side of the aisle you’re on, Dan’s military service and sacrifice for our country are to be admired and appreciated. Period," Litton wrote.
Photo credits: Facebook (Dan Crenshaw)/NBC (Pete Davidson)