By now I’m sure you’re all aware that longtime actor Fred Willard was arrested for allegedly “engaging in lewd conduct” inside an adult movie theater. Everyone went ahead and had their fun with the news yesterday morning, but things officially transitioned from silly to ridiculous when PBS fired Willard from his gig as narrator of Market Warriors. From the New York Times Arts Beat:
Jeanne Hopkins, a spokeswoman for WGBH, the Boston public broadcaster that produces the show, said via e-mail, “Given the unfortunate news reported today, effective immediately, Fred Willard no longer will be involved with the Market Warriors series.”
OK, two things:
1) Fred Willard is innocent until proven guilty, and according to TMZ he is protesting the charges, calling it “a big misunderstanding,” and saying he and the police have “a difference of opinion.” There was no need for PBS to can him literally hours after the news broke, and before he had a chance to make his case to the prosecutors and/or the public. I’m not saying this is what happened here, but people get arrested for stuff they’re later found to have not done like all the time. Give it week, or hell, give it at least a full day, before you decide to ax a dude over something as stupid as this. Which brings me to my second point…
2) Who gives a sh-t? Seriously. Who? Show me one person who actually gives a sh-t that a 72-year-old man got arrested for allegedly playing with himself in an adult theater. Do you really think anyone who was planning to watch Market Warriors would have heard Fred Willard’s voice and said “Well, I never!” and shut off the television out of disgust? Don’t answer that, I’ll do it for you: no. I’ll also tell you that I had no idea who or what a Market Warriors was until about 12 hours ago, so chances are this actually got more people interested in the show. Make no mistake, this was a chickensh-t move by a scared organization who was afraid of a public backlash that never existed. Knock it off, PBS.
In conclusion, Team Fred.
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