On Monday, July 5, comedian and Rescue Me star Denis Leary appeared on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and related a story in which he claimed his costar, Steven Pasquale, used the anti-gay f-word. The word was not bleeped when the episode first aired.
Leary claimed that when NY Yankee Derek Jeter visited the Rescue Me set, he told the stars “I really admire what you guys do—I don’t know how you do what you do,” referring to their portrayal of NYC firefighters. Leary then said Pasquale responded: “What are you talking about? We’re f**s! We pretend to be brave guys. What are you talkin’ about?”
The day after the show aired, Pasquale released the following statement:
“I am an actor, and I live and work in New York City. I can honestly say that half the people I know, love and respect are gay. I simply didn’t say it. I’m not capable of saying it, anymore than describing my black friends as the ‘N’ word. I can’t take any responsibility for it. None. I’m afraid Denis got his wires a little crossed in remembering that story.”
GLAAD thanks Steven Pasquale for stepping up of his own accord to clarify Leary’s remarks. GLAAD’s Director of National News, Cindi Creager, also reached out to Comedy Central and received assurances that the derogatory word would be bleeped online and in future airings, as well as an apology that the term was aired in the first place.
Denis Leary has a troubled history with this hateful word. In 2008, Leary released a book that included a chapter called “Matt Dillon Is a Giant F**.” When The Advocate asked him about this, Leary defensively claimed to not believe in the power of words. Leary had also previously claimed he’d rather shoot himself in the head than sleep with a man.
GLAAD would again like to thank Steven Pasquale and Comedy Central, and will be reaching out to Mr. Leary in hope that he too will agree to take responsibility for his casual and insensitive use of such a harmful word.