“Saturday Night Live” cast member Pete Davidson is facing backlash over a joke he made during a 2017 stand-up routine that referenced the Manchester Arena bombing. Twenty-two people were killed on May 22, 2017 after a homemade bomb exploded outside the arena following an Ariana Grande concert. Davidson’s joke said Grande must know how famous she is “because Britney Spears didn’t have a terrorist attack at her concert.”
Charlotte Hodgson, whose daughter Olivia Campbell-Hardy was killed in the bombing, gave a statement to The Mirror in which she criticized Davidson for using the tragedy as material for his stand-up comedy.
“For anyone to joke about this situation is disgusting and I think he should publicly apologize for it,” Hodgson said. “The families will find it equally as disgusting. We don’t need jokes about it, there have been plenty around, and it’s heartbreaking to hear every day.”
Hodgson pointed out the fact Davidson is now in a relationship with Grande. The two became engaged last month after weeks of dating. Hodgson said it’s “outrageous” for Davidson to be making jokes about the Manchester bombing while being famous for “Saturday Night Live” and dating Grande. “I think she would be horrified too,” Hodgson said.
Davidson is well known for addressing controversial topics in his comedy sets. The comedian often tells jokes about his father’s death in the September 11 terrorist attacks, which some audiences also find insensitive.
IndieWire has reached out to Davidson’s team for further comment.