Ann Flagella, the president of Eddie Griffin's production company, has told The Huffington Post that the web site that used the headline "Eddie Griffin Assaults Woman At Stand-Up Show" was not TMZ after all. Griffin saw a screen shot of TMZ's video of the incident embedded on another site and thought the headline was theirs. Flagella went on to say, "He is, however, still upset that TMZ is calling him homophobic when (in his opinion) he said the word 'dyke' as slang, not derogatory." Flagella did not indicate whether Griffin will proceed with his plans for a lawsuit.
Griffin posted an update to his Facebook page with the image that sparked his threat to sue TMZ, along with the note, "To everyone who said I didn't read the article, this is what was sent to me... I got this I and saw 'TMZ' and was mad as hell."
Comedian Eddie Griffin is threatening to file a lawsuit against TMZ after the popular gossip site reported on an incident that took place during Griffin's show at Tommy T's Comedy Club in Pleasanton, California, on Friday.
During the show, a woman in the front row reportedly threw her drink at the comedian after he made comments regarding her sexual orientation. In response, Griffin poured his water on her and threw the empty bottle. An audience member caught part of the incident on tape:
A fan's account of the incident and another video of the aftermath can be seen here.
According to Griffin's production company, Front Of The Bus, TMZ reported on the incident Sunday under the headline "Eddie Griffin Assaults Woman At His Show In CA." No post with that name can currently be found on the site, but according to Ann Flagella, president of Front Of The Bus, both Griffin and his son confirmed seeing the original story. Griffin maintains that the original "assault" headline was deleted and replaced with the current one: "Eddie Griffin Gets Into Drink-Throwing Fight During His Own Show."
A spokesman for TMZ, however, tells The Huffington Post that the word "assault" was never used.
Griffin took extreme exception to the alleged characterization, and wrote the following statement on his Facebook wall:
These TMZ bitches said I assaulted a "WOMAN" at my show in cali. I don't know what kind of eyes these mutha fuckas got but that dyke bitch threw a glass of whatever she was drinkin' in my face. All over a joke about dyke bitches! Now TMZ be careful with your choice of words, I didn't ASSAULT a goddamn thing! if I had a nigga would be locked the fuck up. As usual, media doing sensationalism instead of journalism. Ya'll better retract your story before i sue ya'll bitch asses for defirmation of character!…or…rather what you really do…character assassination!!! You parasitic mutha Fuckas!!!..TMZ these nuts bitch!!!
The current version of the TMZ story does not indicate that a change was made, and a follow-up story published in response to Griffin's Facebook post states, "Eddie clearly didn't read the story... Griffin has released a statement on his Facebook page ... in which he falsely claims TMZ accused him of 'assaulting' a woman in the audience of his show in Pleasanton, California."
Flagella tells The Huffington Post that Griffin will be moving forward with the lawsuit. She also released this response, which her company sent to TMZ on Monday:
Eddie never assaulted a woman, nor is he homophobic. Your statements are false. He was telling a joke. He was doing his job and making the audience laugh and doing a great job at it. Eddie has never and will never sensor his act. ALL races, religions, genders and stereotypes are considered EQUAL on stage and are all open for material. Eddie's famous quote is "F*ck -em if they can't take a joke. They shouldn't come to a comedy show".
If you sit front row at a comedy show, it is widely known that chances are, you might have a good chance of becoming part of the act.
In the words of Tammy Pescatelli, who also got a drink thrown at her this past weekend:
"I expect hecklers. I can handle hecklers but never in my 18 years have I ever experienced something like this. My weapons are words. She turned a glass into a weapon and assaulted me in front of a crowd, who were more than willing to stand in my behalf, but because it was a comedy club, it is not serious? If I worked at Macy's and someone threw a bottle of perfume at me, they would have been arrested. This is a society where hecklers disrupt a comedians act and then are shocked at what comes out of that comics mouth! Our livelihoods are predicated by performance."
When you interrupt a comedian-whether you believe you are right or not, you must be able to handle what they retaliate with! Sometimes it may be offensive.
And as far as heckling is concerned-consider it a professional sporting event. If I don't like how the team is playing and I think I can do better, do i just jump down on the field and take the ball? NO because I will get arrested. Thrown out of the stadium and fines imposed.
Comedy is or maybe WAS the last bastion of freedom of speech. Who will stand up for the standups?
The bizarre incident is the latest in a series of confrontations between comedians and hecklers, including Pescatelli's and Daniel Tosh, who infamously joked that it would be funny if a heckler were raped.