Denis Leary attacks bad press over “Autism Shamautism” chapter in his new book

Denis Leary hosted his 14th annual Comics Come Home benefit on Saturday night in Boston to support the Cam Neely Foundation for Cancer Care, and after predictably taking on lame-duck President Bush again (only this time, with a fond farewell), Leary lit into the Boston Herald for its coverage of his new book, Why We Suck: A Feel Good Guide to Staying Fat, Loud, Lazy and Stupid. The Herald, in attendance, filed this report this morning, claiming Leary showed mock front pages of the tabloid showcases other perceived falsehoods. “Everything that was said in the newspaper was absolutely not true,”
Leary told the audience, the Herald reported. “This makes me angry, to think I’d be such a
(expletive) (expletive) I’d make fun of autistic (expletive) children?
(Expletive) you!”

In an interview with USA Today, Leary gave a more measured response, saying that quotes from his chapter, "Autism Shamautism," were taken out of context. He told that paper:

"For me, the reason for writing the chapter was because I know people
who have children with autism, and I’m offended by people actually
trying to seek out a low-level diagnosis for their kids because they’re
too lazy to deal with their kids’ behavior."

"If I was a person in the same shoes as a lot of the people who read
it, I would be just as upset, because it looked like I was talking
about the opposite. It really made me angry that that was the way it
was painted," he says. "I was a comedy doctor discussing autism, not a
real doctor defining autism."

Earlier: Here you can find the Herald column and coverage that prompted this statement from Leary. The timing also coincided with fund-raising letters Emerson College alums received from Leary, which rubbed more than a few the wrong way, the Globe said.

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

View all posts by Sean L. McCarthy →