Conan O'Brien Addresses 'Charlie Hebdo' Attacks With a Powerful Statement About Free Speech — VIDEO
A tragedy such as the likes of what happened in Paris at the headquarters of the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine hits home particularly hard with the American people, especially so soon after the controversy surrounding the cancellation of The Interview 's wide theater release following threats from a hacker group. If there's one thing the American people are particularly proud of, it is their right to free speech. And that is exactly the basis Conan O'Brien used for his point about the Charlie Hebdo attacks during Conan on Wednesday. In fact, his words were so thoughtful and personal, especially for anyone who was raised in America, that they resonate strongly.
"This story really hits home for anyone who, day in and day out, mocks political, social, and religious figures," said O'Brien during his usual pre-show introduction, during which he took time to address the tragedy. "In this country, we just take it for granted that it's our right to poke fun at the untouchable or the secret, but today's tragedy reminds us very viscerally that it's a right that some people are inexplicably forced to die for."
And he's absolutely correct. It really does hit home when it's put like that. The right to free speech, the right that Americans, really, take for granted most of the time, isn't a right that's universal. Situations like this are a humbling reminder of that fact, and, as a result, O'Brien's words linger with you long after he's finished speaking. When most people make a joke, they don't usually pause beforehand to wonder if someone might kill them for making it — and that's exactly what happened in this tragedy in Paris. It's as horrifying as it is incomprehensible, as sad as it is unnecessary, that this shooting could ever have taken place for something as simple as a joke.
"All of us are terribly sad for the families of those victims, for the people of France, and for anyone in the world tonight who now has to think twice before making a joke," O'Brien finished. "It's not the way it's supposed to be."
Check out the full clip below.