Howie Mandel got into trouble on Tuesday night’s live America’s Got Talent broadcast when he made an offhand joke about the eating disorder, bulimia, while delivering a judges critique.
After the performer, named “The Regurgitator,” finished his act–which consisted of swallowing and hawking back up an assortment of items, including an expensive ring, a lock and a pool ball–the judges raved about his uncanny ability to barf up just about anything. Howie, giddy with compliments, chose this time to make a dicey joke, even admitting upfront that it could be considered problematic.
“Think about it people…this is probably going to come out wrong,” said Howie, “But you sir, make bulimia entertaining!” (Fast forward to about the 7 minute point for Howie’s remarks. Do that especially if watching a guy throw things up makes you queasy.)
AND CUE THE ANGRY TWEETS!
Howie Mandel just said this guy makes bulimia entertaining. That's one way to lose my respect. #AmericasGotTalent
— ashley nash (@ashnashley) August 26, 2015
— haylee||18 days||pcd (@hxylex) August 26, 2015
Did @howiemandel really just say, "you make bulimia look entertaining?" Sorry but jokes about eating disorders should never be made.
— emily jane. (@em5793) August 26, 2015
— haylee chura (@haylee_chura) August 26, 2015
— Chelsea ??:? (@allison514c) August 26, 2015
Two acts later–Howie didn’t even wait for all the acts to finish performing–he apologized. I’ll bet a producer got to him before Howie even had a minute to peruse his own tweets.
“…I want to take a second to apologize. I made a comment earlier. It’s live television. I wasn’t thinking. I made light of bulimia which is a very serious eating disorder and mental health issue. I deal with mental health all the time, and I did something stupid. I should never make light of it, and I apologize to anybody that was offended. I’m not perfect. I make mistakes.”
The stuff about dealing with mental health all the time–Howie is upfront about suffering from OCD and germ phobia, often making light of his fear of touching things.
Howie also tweeted an apology:
I am NOT perfect. I make mistakes. I sincerely apologize to everyone who was offended.
— Howie Mandel (@howiemandel) August 26, 2015
Some were willing to cut Howie a break after he apologized. And some wondered why he needed to apologize at all.
— Conrad Panganiban (@tweetsomniac) August 26, 2015
— Felix Kay (@TheFelixKay) August 26, 2015