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Adam Klugman, the son of the late Jack Klugman, is calling out the Emmys for giving a special honor to the late Cory Monteith and simply remembering Jack Klugman in the routine "In Memoriam" reel. Monteith, who was a star on Glee, died of a drug overdose in July. Adam Klugman said of the Emmy organizers, "They're celebrating this self-inflicted tragedy instead of celebrating the life of my father, who won three Emmys." I can't imagine the pain that Adam Klugman and his family are experiencing at the loss of Jack Klugman, and I agree with them that the star of The Odd Couple and Quincy, ME should have gotten more of a remembrance at the Emmys. However, I think Adam Klugman chose an unproductive and unfortunate way to express his disappointment.
First, Adam Klugman's words have probably created unnecessary pain for Cory Monteith's family, who will not want to hear their son's death referred to as "self-inflicted." Second, I was hoping that we were getting to a point in this country where we could stop calling alcoholism and other addictions "self-inflicted," as it creates a culture of victim-blaming, deters people from developing the agency to seek treatment, and trivializes the creation of affordable, accessible treatment for mental illnesses. Third, I don't think Adam Klugman should have demanded his father be remembered on the basis that he had won numerous Emmys because remembering lives should not come down to a competition over personal accomplishments.
Adam Klugman went on to allege that the Emmy organizers chose to give a special honor to Monteith because they wanted to attract a younger demographic for their show. "Let's call this what it is," he said. "They're doing this because they think they're gonna get a younger generation of viewers to watch." I don't know if this is true or not, and it may be an allegation that no one can prove. Regardless, I think the organizers of the Emmys should be especially sensitive in the manner in which they handle the deaths of actors and actresses. In the future, I think the Emmys could avoid the appearance that they are using memorial segments as a tool to increase ratings by honoring every death in the same segment and for the same length of time.
I am very sorry for the Klugmans' loss, and I think the Emmys should respond to this situation by changing the way they memorialize actors in the future, namely being equally sensitive to all deaths. However, I wish Adam Klugman had chosen words that did not trivialize the death of Cory Monteith or the suffering of addicts and their family members across this country. This is the kind of dialogue that we need to leave behind if we want to progress toward a healthier society.