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Dan Crenshaw and Pete Davidson on SNL
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SNL star Pete Davidson mocks veteran’s war wound

SNL comedia Pete Davidson joked that a Texas Congressional candidate who lost his eye while serving in Afghanistan looks like a "hitman in a porno movie." (NBC/SNL)

Dan Crenshaw was serving his country in Afghanistan when an IED went off. The blast of the explosion blinded him; it completely destroyed his right eye and left the other badly damaged.

He was six months into his third deployment, and he was U.S. Navy Seal; He knew better than anyone the risks a soldier faces and the sacrifices he needs to make to fight what he believes in. Still, at that moment, when he knew his sight might never return to him again, he and his wife prayed.

It was a miracle, the head surgeon said, that he ever recovered. He’d been so badly wounded that they’d had to force him into a medically-induced coma just to keep him alive. But after multiple surgeries, he got the gift of sight back in his one remaining eye.

That was 2012. Since then, Dan Crenshaw has been deployed twice more and has come home to serve his country in a different, running for the U.S. House of Representatives in Texas.

But on Saturday night, he turned on his TV to see this:

Saturday Night Live ran a segment where comedian Pete Davidson put up a picture of Crenshaw’s face and joked: “You may be surprised to hear he’s a Congressional candidate from Texas and not a hitman in a porno movie.”

“I’m sorry. I know he lost his eye in war, or whatever,” Davidson said, before shrugging and repeating: “Whatever.”

SNL sparks outrage

The studio audience laughed, but many at home weren’t amused. Several have taken to the internet to voice their outrage against the joke, with many calling on SNL to apologize:

Even Pete Davidson’s co-star, Kenan Thompson, has criticized his joke, telling Today:

“My father is a veteran—you know, Vietnam—and I personally would never necessarily go there. … When you miss the mark, you’re offending people. So, you have to kind of, like, be a little more aware, in my opinion.”

Dan Crenshaw responds

Dan Crenshaw himself, though, is one of the few who isn’t demanding an apology.

“I want us to get away from this culture where we demand apologies every time someone misspeaks,” he told TMZ. “I think that would be very healthy for our nation to go in that direction. We don’t need to be outwardly outraged. I don’t need to demand apologies from them. They can do whatever they want, you know. They are feeling the heat from around the country right now, and that’s fine.”

Crenshaw isn’t without a sense of humor about his injury. This year, for Halloween, he took advantage of the injury to dress up as the superhero Thor, who, in his most recent movie, sports an eyepatch of his own.

He has asked SNL to recognize that veterans don’t want their wounds to become the butts of bad jokes but “the real atrocity”, Crenshaw says, isn’t so much the offense, as it is that the joke “wasn’t even funny.”

More to the story

When Dave & Dujanvoic talked about this story on the air, Debbie Dujanovic said that, even if Crenshaw won’t demand an apology, she will.

If you missed the show live on KSL Newsradio, you can still hear everything that had to say on the Dave & Dujanvoic podcast.

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon on KSL Newsradio. Users can find the show on the KSL Newsradio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.

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