Jerry Seinfeld caught some flak over his comments that he thought he was on the autism spectrum “on a very drawn-out scale.” Now he’s walking those remarks back.
When Access Hollywood recently interviewed Jerry Seinfeld, he acknowledged that his earlier remarks were off the mark.
“I don’t have autism, I’m not on the spectrum,” Seinfeld said. “I just was watching this play about it and thought, ‘Why am I relating to this?’ I related to it on some level. That’s all I was saying.”
Seinfeld doesn’t seem to think his remarks were that big a deal.
“Comedians mess up all the time, you know,” he said, “that’s just part of that business.”
In his original remarks to Brian Williams about the autism topic, Seinfeld had explained his reasoning behind his thinking.
“Basic social engagement is really a struggle,” he told Williams. “I’m very literal, when people talk to me and they use expressions, sometimes I don’t know what they’re saying. But I don’t see it as dysfunctional. I just think of it as an alternate mindset.”
He continued that line of logic with AH, without tying it to autism as the cause.
“All the comedians that we’ve had on Comedians In Cars, usually at some point in the show I ask them, ‘Do you have trouble talking to just regular people?’ And they always say yes. They always say yes.”
Some parents of children who legitimately suffer with autism felt that Seinfeld’s remarks framing it as “an alternate mindset” were way off base.
Marie Myung-Ok Lee said in Salon, “What I fear is that these public faces of autism will allow society, and more important, policymakers, mentally off the hook. You can have autism and get a Ph.D.! It helps you write jokes! Your charming quirks and aggravating behaviors are now explainable.”