F. Murray Abraham Pulls Apology from the Playbook of Always Couching Bad Behavior in Jokes
As much as Hollywood’s many misbehaving boomer man-children get ragged on for being out-of-touch with the climate around workplace misconduct, they sure love to pull the “It’s just a prank bro!” card straight from 2015 YouTube.
Last April, F. Murray Abraham abruptly left production of the Rob McElhenney comedy Mythic Quest without explanation, and his character was quickly written off the show. Then, earlier this week, Rolling Stone reported that Abraham was actually fired from the AppleTV+ series following multiple sexual misconduct complaints against the 83-year-old actor. In reaction to the report, Murray published a statement expressing his “sincere and deeply felt apology,” saying, “Though never my intention to offend anyone, I told jokes, nothing more, that upset some of my colleagues and as a result lost a great job with wonderful people. I have grown in my understanding from this experience, and I hope they will forgive me.”
Abraham follows in the footsteps of comedy creeps like Jeff Garlin and Bill Murray who pulled the exact same excuses out of their ancient asses when they were fired from comedy projects – “It was just a joke, I didn’t mean to offend anyone, everyone’s so sensitive nowadays” is apparently the official slogan for abusive assholes and sex pests pretending to be apologetic.
According to Rolling Stone, Abraham was warned by producers on Mythic Quest to stay away from the show’s actresses when a coworker lodged a complaint against him, the details of which remain privileged information. After Abraham ignored this very simple advice on how to not get fired, a second complaint was brought to star and showrunner McElhenney’s attention, who immediately terminated Abraham and started writing his departure. Abraham’s character, the titular videogame’s lecherous, pretentious writer C.W. Longbottom, was gracefully given an offscreen death in the show’s Season Three premiere. Still, Abraham insists that all the trouble was over a punchline that just didn’t land.
The last year-and-change has seen a montage of men in comedy use the same lame excuse when their awful workplace behavior bites them in the ass – Larry David-collaborator Garlin was finally fired from The Goldbergs after a decade of extremely abusive treatment of his co-stars, later hand-waving away years of documented HR violations by saying, “It’s always the same thing. It’s about me and my silliness on set. They don’t think it’s appropriate. I do.” Saturday Night Live legend Murray paid out a $100,000 settlement to a female staffer after he was fired from Aziz Ansari’s directorial debut film for tackling her on a bed and forcefully kissing her face and body, claiming, “I did something I thought was funny and it wasn’t taken that way.”
Now, Abraham joins the illustrious list of old-to-ancient men in comedy who can’t muster up the emotional maturity to accept the consequences of their egregious actions without hiding behind the “You just can’t joke about anything nowadays” defense. What small solace we can take from these situations is that, eventually, individuals in charge of these productions reacted to workplace offenses the way they deserved to be handled – all these assholes were canned, even if it took a decade to do so.
Nevertheless, the repercussions of these transgressions sadly don’t extend much further than the boundaries of the sets from which these men were booted – Garlin is still a series regular on Curb Your Enthusiasm. Murray made his Marvel Cinematic Universe debut post-settlement. Abraham starred on the third season of White Lotus and even earned an Emmy nomination after his Mythic Quest misconduct.
Frankly, these minor speed bumps in the offenders’ careers prove an uncomfortable truth – Hollywood’s reaction to powerful men in comedy behaving like monsters is a bigger joke than these creeps’ excuses.