Sarah Silverman heard from the sister of a closeted gay cop who shot and killed a person after police were warned never to give him a gun.
The comic was told the troubling story by a caller on the latest episode of her weekly podcast, which covers topical social issues including racism and police brutality.
The caller explained that her brother became a San Jose police officer against the recommendations of his family, who were sent an evaluation form as part of the recruitment process.
“[To find out] you know, whether your relative is cuckoo or not,” she said. “And um, yeah, mine was.
“On the back of the form it said, ‘Is there any reason why?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, don’t ever give this guy a gun. He shouldn’t have a gun.’ And I said I didn’t believe he should be a police officer. I didn’t believe that he had the right level of maturity, wisdom, I don’t know.
“Anyway, he did become a police officer.”
The woman never found out why her warning was ignored – and just as she predicted, her brother went on to shoot and kill a person in the line of duty.
“The case was behind closed doors, it was sealed, whatever they want to call it. It wasn’t for the public to find out. But my brother wound up getting off,” she said. “And it always haunts me that, you know, I tried to let them know. He just wasn’t equipped.”
The man passed away several years ago after living “kind of a tragic life”, his sister said, and the family finally uncovered the secret he’d tried to hide for so long.
“My brother was hiding the fact that he was a gay man who liked to dress up in women’s clothes and have sex with men,” she revealed.
“It’s just so extremely sad because his whole life he was trying to do masculine things. He was an airborne ranger, he went to the police force, like he was doing everything ‘to be a man’, and underneath he was really a gay man.”
His sister believes their extreme homophobic upbringing meant he was unable to be his true self, which in turn led him to a police career he was never suited to.
“It’s just so tragic how one thing leads to another, and not feeling accepted pushed him into a lifestyle and a job where he wound up killing somebody.”
The harrowing story left Sarah Silverman visibly shaken. “This is what happens when you grow up in an environment that does not accept people for who they are, that has this notion of what a man is supposed to be and what a woman is supposed to be,” she said.
“And it’s all bulls**t. It’s all just made up, half religious-based f**king stupid bulls**t. Toxic, toxic masculinity. So what does he do? He feels that who he is is wrong. He represses it.
“He squelches this huge, potentially beautiful part of himself, and that’s what happens.”
Watch the clip in full below.