Stand-up comedian Ari Shaffir had a gig at the New York Comedy Club canceled following controversial remarks about recently deceased Los Angeles Lakers retired star shooting guard Kobe Bryant. According to The Times of Israel, the comedy club canceled Shaffir’s Tuesday set and also issued a statement saying it does not plan on working with the comedian again.
Shaffir was criticized for remarks on social media, specifically in a video tweeted out following Bryant’s death in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, which also took eight more lives, including his teenaged daughter Gianna.
“Kobe Bryant died 23 years too late today,” Shaffir says in the video. “He got away with rape because all the Hollywood liberals who attack comedy enjoy rooting for the Lakers more than they dislike rape. Big ups to the hero who forgot to gas up his chopper. I hate the Lakers. What a great day.”
Earlier this week Shaffir wrote an apology on Instagram, claiming he was trying to respond to celebrity “worship” that inevitably follows every time a famous person passes away, and that the “joke” of his was not the first time, along with his ire not being aimed at the children on board the helicopter (via Yahoo).
“Every time a beloved celebrity dies I post some horrible s*** about them. I’ve been doing it for years now,” he began. “I like destroying gods. And right when a famous person dies they’re at their most worshipped. So as a response to all the outpouring of sympathy on social media, I post something vile. it’s just a joke. I don’t really hate any of the people.”
Since Shaffir’s viral-for-the-wrong-reasons social-media posts, he has since seen repercussions like the canceled comedy gig and attacks on Twitter and Instagram.