After host Jerrod Carmichael made a joke about Whitney Houston’s death at the 2023 Golden Globes, the late singer’s estate is speaking out — and condemning the comments.
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“The Whitney Houston estate is disappointed in the joke and felt it was in poor taste,” Pat Houston — Whitney’s longtime manager and sister-in-law — told TMZ on Wednesday, January 11.
During the awards show — which aired on Tuesday, January 10 — Carmichael, 35, mentioned the “Higher Love” musician after a commercial break.
“Here we are, live, from the hotel that killed Whitney Houston, the Beverly Hilton,” the stand-up comedian said, referring to Whitney’s February 2012 death at the establishment. An autopsy report later ruled the Grammy winner’s death an accidental drowning, noting that heart disease and “chronic” cocaine use were contributing factors.
Whitney wasn’t the only reference the comedian made during the broadcast. In addition to Carmichael’s controversial comments about the “I Will Always Love You” songstress, he took a shot at Tom Cruise and Scientologists.
“Backstage, I found these three Golden Globe awards that Tom Cruise returned,” he said, holding three of the coveted trophies. “I’m just the host briefly, or whatever, but I have a pitch. I think maybe we take these three things and exchange them for the safe return of Shelly Miscavige.”
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The Emmy winner’s joke — which referred to Scientology leader David Miscavige’s wife who has allegedly not been seen in public since August 2007 — was met with silence followed by some surprised cheers and laughs.
Former Scientologist and outspoken critic of the organization Leah Remini, for her part, praised the quip.
“Thank you, Jerrod Carmichael! Where is Shelly?? #GoldenGlobes2023 #GoldenGlobes,” the King of Queens alum, 52, wrote via Twitter alongside a clip of the on-air moment.
Remini filed a missing person report for Shelly in 2013 after leaving the Church of Scientology. A statement from media relations at the Church of Scientology released to Us Weekly at the time stated, “The Los Angeles Police Department has already stated that the case is closed and that the report filed by Leah Remini was unfounded.”
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Carmichael wasn’t the only person with a memorable comedic moment from the evening. Eddie Murphy, for his part, got a huge laugh while reliving the infamous Oscars 2022 incident when Will Smith slapped Chris Rock.
“I want to let you know that there is a definitive blueprint that you can follow to achieve success, prosperity, longevity and peace of mind. It’s very simple, it’s three things,” Murphy, 61, said while accepting the Cecil B. DeMille Award for Lifetime Achievement. “Pay your taxes, mind your business and keep Will Smith’s wife’s name out your f—king mouth.”
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