Turns out that Andrea Fay Friedman, the voice actor who played the part of Ellen on the last episode of “Family Guy,” has Down syndrome, as does her character on Fox’s cheeky cartoon. As it also happens, Friedman thinks Sarah Palin got the wrong idea from one of Ellen’s wisecracks on the show, when the character tells her dinner date, “I am the daughter of the former governor of Alaska.”

That apparently didn’t sit well with Palin, now a Fox News commentator, who called the creators of “Family Guy” “cruel, coldhearted people” and made room on her Facebook page for one of her actual daughters, Bristol, to signal her own disapproval as well. To both Palins, Friedman offered the following hint in an exchange with The New York Times: “I think the word is ‘sarcasm.’ “

In a Times interview published Thursday, Friedman had more to say about the Palins, “Family Guy” and her career.

The New York Times:

Q. When did you find out about the reaction that the episode elicited from Sarah Palin and her family?

A. [laughs] That I did not even know about until my mom told me, “You’re on Channel 4!” And when I watched on Channel 4, on “Extra,” and I saw Sarah Palin with her son Trig. I’m like, “I’m not Trig. This is my life.” I was making fun of Sarah Palin, but not her son.

Q. Do you agree with what she and her daughter Bristol were saying, that the character and the jokes were insulting to people with Down syndrome?

A. It’s not really an insult. I was doing my role, I’m an actor. I’m entitled to say something. It was really funny. I was laughing at it. I had a nice time doing voiceover. It was my first time doing a voiceover, and I had fun.

Read more


If you're reading this, you probably already know that non-profit, independent journalism is under threat worldwide. Independent news sites are overshadowed by larger heavily funded mainstream media that inundate us with hype and noise that barely scratch the surface. We believe that our readers deserve to know the full story. Truthdig writers bravely dig beneath the headlines to give you thought-provoking, investigative reporting and analysis that tells you what’s really happening and who’s rolling up their sleeves to do something about it.

Like you, we believe a well-informed public that doesn’t have blind faith in the status quo can help change the world. Your contribution of as little as $5 monthly or $35 annually will make you a groundbreaking member and lays the foundation of our work.