(a radiant Angelina Jolie, ready to face the world after learning a humorless midwestern columnist greatly admires her efforts)
I’m gonna have to take Bill Livingstone of the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s word on this one, because I had about as much interest in watching the ESPY Awards as I would in watching a John Sterling Celebrity Roast. Possibly less. But Livingstone endured the punishment, and is a tad offended at LeBron James’ hosting antics, reminding us that “child abuse isn’t funny.”
In the skit, James stood at the side of the stage, holding a baby in a blanket in his arms. The baby looked too big to be his infant second son, Bryce Maximus, but who knows? It’s hard to tell on TV. Then James jumped and dunked a doll wrapped in the same blanket through a basket. After it smacked off the floor, he said, “Let’s see if Angelina Jolie can adopt that baby.”Jolie is an actress, a magnet for the tabloids and entertainment shows, and one half of the Brangelina couple with Brad Pitt. People magazine can’t publish without them.
Jolie is comic gold to some because she is a serial adopter. But international adoption agencies say her celebrity status has brought increased awareness of the problems children face in such impoverished nations as Cambodia and Ethiopia, from which she had adopted children. Other parents have been encouraged to follow her example. It was tone-deaf to bash this kind of work.
As for the baby slam, however, if it was supposed to be some kind of reply to fans wondering why he hasn’t married his girlfriend, it didn’t work.
And why drag Angelina Jolie in for doing a good deed in a world in need of it?
Though it doesn’t sound like the funniest moment in TV history, I have to wonder how easily outraged Livingstone must be to rush to the defense of Angelina Jolie in this instance. This sounds more like a not-particularly-artful attempt by LeBron and Jimmy Kimmel’s writers to make mirth outta James’ megastar status. I suspect the only children who really suffered as a result were those in the Livingstone household, waiting ’til they could change the channel to something more interesting.