September 21, 2020 | News | No Comments
Progressive groups and entertainers alike shared appreciation on Thursday for Barry Crimmins, the activist and comedian who died on Wednesday at the age of 64, weeks after revealing he had been diagnosed with cancer.
Crimmins’ wife shared the news via his Twitter account.
Jeff Cohen, founder of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), remembered Crimmins as a “funny and biting stand-up whose comedy was political and always punched upward.”
“Beloved by fellow comedians, he pioneered in the kind of informed, compassionate, topical comedy that later became mainstream with Jon Stewart and Colbert,” Cohen told Common Dreams in an email.
In addition to his work as a comedian, Crimmins worked as a writer and correspondent for the left-leaning talk radio station Air America.
The frequent political satirist spoke out at anti-war rallies ahead of U.S. involvement in the Gulf War in 1990, but Crimmins’ advocacy on behalf of survivors of child sexual abuse became one of his best-known endeavors.
A survivor himself, Crimmins testified before Congress in 1995, imploring lawmakers and internet companies to stop the use of online chat rooms by pedophiles. He had stumbled upon them while using AOL to find online support groups for victims, and his testimony led to a zero-tolerance policy for pedophilia and child pornography at the company.
Crimmins and his wife Helen set up a GoFundMe fundraiser last year to help with medical bills, as both were diagnosed with cancer within months of one another and didn’t have adequate health coverage until Crimmins’ insurance through the Writer’s Guild of America went into effect in January.
“The only reason Barry didn’t see a doctor right away is because he didn’t have adequate health insurance and he didn’t want to rack up huge medical bills while we were already dealing with my huge medical bills,” wrote Helen. “I lobbied for him to go despite what it would cost, but he had made up his mind to wait until he was covered. The American healthcare system really screwed both of us.”
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