Matt Rife Backlash Intensifies After Domestic Violence Joke In Netflix Special, Then Posting A Fake Apology Linking Out To Special Needs Helmet: “Disrespectful And Distasteful”

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Matt Rife: Natural Selection

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It might be time for Matt Rife to start looking for some new stand-up material. After facing controversy for opening his new Netflix special with a domestic violence joke, the comedian is continuing to face backlash for posting an apology that linked out to a special needs helmet.

At the start of Matt Rife: Natural Selection, Rife — who was filming the special from Washington, D.C. — recalled a time he went out to lunch in “the “beautiful and “ratchet” Baltimore. According to him, a female employee at the restaurant had a “full black eye” and it was “pretty obvious what happened.”

When his friend suggested that the managers have her work in the kitchen so no one would have to see her injury, Rife replied, “Yeah, but I feel like if she could cook, she wouldn’t have that black eye.”

The comedian added, “Just testing the waters, seeing if y’all are gonna be fun or not. I figure if we start the show with domestic violence the rest of the show should be pretty smooth sailing after that.”

The joke sparked outrage on social media, prompting Rife to post a fake apology on his Instagram Story. He captioned the photo, “If you’ve ever been offended by a joke I’ve told, here’s a link to my official apology,” along with a link that said, “Tap to solve the issue.” It ultimately directed users to a website that sells special needs helmets.

Rife’s “distasteful” response only dug him in deeper with social media users, who continued to slam him on X, formerly known as Twitter.

“Fuck you @mattrife people with disabilities aren’t your punchline after making a misogynistic dv joke,” one wrote. “Be funny without being a gross human or you’re just not funny???”

Another added, “Matt Rife is insane. How do you joke about domestic violence and then post an ‘apology link’ that leads you to special needs helmets? That’s fucking disgusting behavior.”

A third person said, “I’m all for dark humor but the link to special needs helmets on Matt Rife’s story was incredibly uncalled for. Dude I like you stop digging the hole further,” while someone else fumed, “If you find Matt Rife’s jokes about disabilities and DV funny … please unfollow me. This is not a space for misogyny, ableism, racism.”

Decider has reached out to Rife’s reps for comment, but did not hear back by the time of publication.

If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic abuse, help is available. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 800-799-7233, or text START to 88788.