The comedian Ari Shaffir has found himself in hot water this week, as he has been dropped by his talent agency after he took to social media to celebrate the death of NBA legend Kobe Bryant.
Just six hours after Bryant passed away last weekend in a helicopter crash that also killed his 13 year-old daughter and seven others, Shaffir took to Twitter to say that the basketball star died “23 years too late.”
“Kobe Bryant died 23 years too late today,” Shaffir tweeted. “He got away with rape because all the Hollywood liberals who attack comedy enjoy rooting for the Lakers more than they dislike rape. Big ups to the hero who forgot to gas up his chopper. I hate the Lakers. What a great day! #Fuckthelakers.”
Not stopping there, Shaffir also posted a video of himself celebrating Bryant’s death.
Shaffir was referring to the fact that Bryant was accused of rape back in 2003 by a 19 year-old hotel employee from Colorado, according to Breitbart News. The charges were later dropped against Bryant when the victim declined to testify against him.
The backlash against Shaffir was swift, as his talent agency Aqua Talent Agency dropped him days later. He also had a show at the New York Comedy Club cancelled after the venue began receiving death threats for scheduling him. Despite this, Shaffir stood by his actions and defended himself on Instagram.
“Every time a beloved celebrity dies, I post some horrible shit about them,” he wrote. “I’ve been doing it for years now. I like destroying gods. And right when a famous person dies, they’re at their most worshipped. So as a response to all the outpouring of sympathy on social media, I post something vile. It’s just a joke. I don’t really hate any of the people.”
He went on to admit that the helicopter crash actually was terrible.
“Kids dying like that, it’s horrible,” he wrote. “All the other people dying, that [sic] horrible too. It’s horrible he died. Really really sad. What a terrible thing that was that happened.”
If your schtick as a comedian is celebrating the deaths of celebrities who are far more famous than you are, it might be time for you to find a new career. Freedom of speech is a beautiful thing, but there are also consequences when one says something that crosses the line. It’s safe to say that Shaffir is learning this lesson the hard way.