You probably remember that last week we reported about an incident wherein a woman in the front row at Tommy T’s comedy club in Pleasonton, CA threw her drink at comedian Eddie Griffin, after she had enough of what she described as him “taunting” her. Griffin responded by dumping a bottle of water on the woman.
Well, a little more than a week later, the woman, Fiona Walshe wants an apology from the comedian. And if she doesn’t get it, she wants a bunch of money from him and the venue, because Griffin made an issue out of her and partner Leslie Champlin (pictured) for being lesbians. Her lawyer released this statement:
At the start of the show, Griffin told the large crowd that he was drunk and had been so for a week. He also drank a bottle of champagne and a shot of hard liquor while on stage. After the show started, Griffin began singling out Walshe. Griffin initially taunted her for looking like a “librarian” and looking “rigid.” However, when Griffin saw that Walshe was with her partner, and wasn’t laughing, Griffin called her out as a “Lesbian” to the crowd. He publically humiliated Walshe and Champlin saying, “Oh, l see what’s going on here. You’re a LESBIAN. All you need is a GOOD-MAN!! I’ll volunteer my services to get in between the two of you to show you a good time you won’t be needing any strap-on’s or vibrators with me.” As Griffin spoke he looked Walshe in the eye and began pumping his hips at her face in a violent sexual manner. Threatened, Walshe threw a drink at Griffin.
After the initial altercation with Griffin, Walshe and Champlin immediately attempted to flee the club as Griffin jumped off stage and onto their table. As he approached them, he hurled patrons’ drinks, water and a bottle at Walshe. As the couple stood to leave, angry crowd members followed Griffin’s actions and also pelted them with drinks. Club security offered the couple no protection as they fled outside and ran to their vehicle.
So, why exactly does Walshe want money if Griffin doesn’t apologize? Her lawyer explains:
Walshe is seeking medical counseling for her injuries. Since the ordeal she has suffered from extreme feelings of anxiety and lack of sleep. Walshe and Champlin have retained the Law Offices of Ruben P. Ruiz. The couple seeks an apology and compensation from Griffin’s and Tommy T’s Comedy Club. A lawsuit has not been filed to date because the couple want to first allow Griffin and Tommy T’s Comedy Club the opportunity to make amends without litigation.
So far, Griffin is standing behind his actions. A spokeswoman for Griffin, Ann Flagella released a statement of her own:
Eddie was doing his job and making the audience laugh and doing a great job at it. Eddie has never and will never sensor his act. ALL races, religions, genders and stereotypes are considered equal on stage and are all open for material. If you sit front row at a comedy show, it is widely known that chances are, you might become part of the act.
This incident is incredibly similar to the case of Canadian comic Guy Earle, who was successfully fined $15,000 for “sexist and homophobic” insults he hurled toward a lesbian couple who were constantly distracting and heckling during a show in May of 2007. The ruling was handed down by the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal, a relatively new watchdog group who, according to many critics, had been operating under questionable authority.