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Sandra Bernhard Cut From Benefit After Palin Gang-Rape Joke

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BOSTON — A women's shelter on Wednesday cut headliner Sandra Bernhard from its annual benefit after she said Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin would be gang-raped if she ever visited New York.

Bernhard's made the remarks last month during her one-woman show in Washington before Palin visited New York to campaign. Bernhard said Palin would be "gang-raped by my big black brothers" during a diatribe in which she also criticized Palin for opposing abortion rights.

Many guests at Rosie's Place, a Boston shelter, have been victims of violence, public relations director Leemarie Mosca said.

"In light of our mission, we don't think violence against women is a laughing matter," she said.

Mosca said the shelter expected to book a replacement before the Oct. 16 luncheon "Funny Women ... Serious Business."

"Right now, our main focus is our event and making sure the event is a success," Mosca said. "And for us, that means not including Sandra Bernhard at this time."

A representative for Bernhard had no immediate comment on the cancellation.

In a statement on her Web site, Bernhard said the gang-rape comment was part of a larger piece from her show about "racism, freedom, women's rights, and the extreme views of Gov. Sarah Palin _ a woman who doesn't believe that other women should have the right to choose."

"I certainly wish Gov. Palin no harm _ I'd just like her to explain to me how she can hold such outrageous views ... and then go back to Alaska," she said.