Legendary entertainer Jerry Lewis wasn't at the MDA Labor Day Telethon, which was previously named the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon.
In 2011, it wasn't just Lewis' name that was absent from the charity event, which seeks to raise awareness of and fund research for cures to muscular dystrophy. It was also his personal presence and public approval.
Lewis didn't show up at the event. It wasn't likely just for health reasons because he could have issued a statement or recorded a video to giving his blessings, which he didn't do.
The event's ensemble cast of hosts heaped praises upon Lewis. They even stood against a background that featured a giant photo of Lewis.
Jerry, and I know you're watching...It isn't possible, Jerry, to replace you, sir, said host Nigel Lythgoe of American Idol in an almost pleading tone at the beginning of the 2011 event.
Ironically, Lewis recently mocked reality TV shows and specifically called out American Idol.
The kids who're on American Idol, they're all McDonalds wipe outs...The industry have destroyed itself, he said, reported Entertainment Weekly in a July 29 article.
Back in May, the MDA and Lewis jointly announced that he was retiring from hosting the show. However, Lewis was scheduled to make a final appearance at the event in 2011 and sing his signature song You'll Never Walk Alone.
Then, in a short press release in August that contained no quotes from Lewis, the MDA announced that he will not partake in the event.
When Lewis was later asked by reporters regarding his absence, he said it's none of your business.
Now, many fans of Jerry Lewis and (former) supporters of the MDA are furious.
This was first Labor Day Telethon that I wasn't answer the phones in 42 years, said one former MDA supporter on Facebook.
I am so disgusted right now I can't even write what I would really like to say. Jerry Lewis should NOT ever be treated like this! I don't give a dang what or who Jerry may have offended, as long as he's alive he should be hosting that telethon! wrote another.
They now have a little tribute to Jerry showing. I'm not buying it with 12 minutes left to go, it comes off as ass kissing and trying to pretend that everything was with Jerry's approval when you know that wasn't the case wrote a third.
In my 42 years in show business, I've seen a great deal of injustice, this ranks right up to the top, said comedian Tom Dreesen, reported CBS.