Handler, 43, tweeted about South Carolina senator — who is known for his conservative, Republican views — on Thursday, which was National Coming Out Day.
“If you’re wondering why Republicans took a sick day today, it’s probably because it’s #NationalComingOutDay,” she wrote. “Looking at you @LindseyGrahamSC”
One day after the comedian’s tweet, Graham, 63, responded to her comments, saying they did not reflect well on her.
“It’s a free country; she can say what she wants to say, I don’t care,” he told a TMZ cameraman in the Reagan National Airport on Friday. “I don’t think much about what she says at all. She wants to live her life that way, it’s up to her.”
When asked if he thought Handler was comparing “homosexuality to being evil,” or being homophobic as some had criticized her for being for making a joke about someone being gay, Graham pointed out he was not gay.
“Number one, she knows zero about me. To the extent that it matters, I’m not gay,” he explained. “And these comments… I don’t think they reflect well on her and I don’t know how it makes us a better country, but it’s up to her, not me.”
He also explained that making fun of others for the sake of comedy was unacceptable in the current era.
“I think we’re moving on from that,” he said. “Belittling people is not as funny as it used to be, and that’s a good thing.”
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In response to Handler’s tweet, many users commented that making fun of the LGBTQ community was offensive, regardless of joking intentions.
“Why is there such a gulf in understanding this fact: being gay is not something to shame or embarrass someone with,” one user wrote. “It’s staggering that, at this point, people who appear to be our community’s allies still don’t get it.”
“So constantly disappointed by “allies” who turn LGBTQ identities into punchlines and sources of malevolent shame,” someone else wrote. “Again and again and again.”
“I think this ‘joke’ is dated and misguided and also hurtful,” added another user.
Others quickly took to Handler’s defense, claiming that her intentions were not malicious.
“I don’t think she is trying to shame him,” one user explained. “There is no shame in being gay. There is shame in hiding it though. He needs to come out and be proud. Not hide it as if it’s some disease. There’s no excuse to hide you’re gay in today’s society, unless you’re a homophobe.”
“People need to take a chill pill,” added someone else. “She does this for a living. She gets places filled with gay people and she makes jokes about them. I don’t think any of them got so ‘offended’ by these jokes before as people are now.”
This is not the first time that Handler has attacked the senator on social media and said he was gay.
This past January, the former talk show host implied that Graham was being blackmailed for his sexuality after President Donald Trump held a bipartisan meeting on immigration reform.
“Holy, f— f—. I just the video of trumps bipartisan ‘meeting’ yesterday,” she wrote. “Hey, @LindseyGrahamSC what kind of … video do they have on you for you 2 be acting like this? Wouldn’t coming out be more honorable?”