US comedian and actor Chris Rock has upset supporters of Donald Trump after he mocked the president for contracting the novel coronavirus.
Hosting Saturday Night Live in the first episode of their new season, Rock extended his thoughts to Covid-19 after Trump had tested positive for the illness.
Before we even get started let's - you know, the elephant in the room. President Trump’s in the hospital from Covid and you know, I just want to say that my heart goes out to Covid.
The joke prompted laughter from the studio audience, who were social distancing and wearing face masks. While SNL has made a habit of mocking Trump and other members of the US government, throughout his presidency, this was the only direct reference to the Trump's diagnosis during the show (most of the mockery aimed at Trump was a satirical take on his debate with Joe Biden, starring Alec Baldwin and Jim Carrey).
However, this small quip from Rock didn't go down too well everyone. Some Trump supporters branded the show 'evil' for the joke.
One wrote on Twitter:
They don’t even bother trying to cover up their evil.
Another also found the joke offensive, saying:
NBC and Chris Rock need to apologize to POTUS and the American people! Saturday Night Live stopped being funny 20 years ago. Now it’s political activism programming! I don’t know one person that watches it anymore. Just not the same! I’m never watching NBC again!
Others described it as "trashy", "tasteless" and "disgusting", and labelled Rock a "loser".
There were even calls for a boycott, with one person writing:
I turned off the TV and walked out of the room right as he said that. The opening was pretty biased as well, standard and shameful. I used to be a Chris Rock fan and was looking forward to his show. No more
Trump was sent to the Walter Reed Medical Centre in Maryland on Friday after his oxygen levels dropped. However, doctors at the facility have since reported that the president's condition has improved and that he could be released as early as Monday. Trump's stay at the hospital was not without controversy though as he caused outrage and concern for the secret service after he took an ill-advised drive-by to wave at his supporters who had amassed outside the building.