Stephen King ‘Sincerely’ Apologizes For Joke About Upstate: Stephen King, a writer of horror novels, has expressed regret for making a joke about upstate New York.
King compared the U.S. House of Representatives speakership and a stay in Utica, New York, amid the turmoil surrounding Kevin McCarthy’s speakership battle last week. McCarthy needed a few days to convince 20 Republicans who had previously opposed his speakership to change their minds. On Friday, the fifteenth round of voting brought him his long-awaited victory.
“(T)he Speakership is like that old joke: First prize is a week in Utica. Second prize is TWO weeks in Utica,” King tweeted of the city in upstate New York last week.
the Speakership is like that old joke: First prize is a week in Utica. Second prize is TWO weeks in Utica.
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) January 6, 2023
Although numerous lawmakers and residents of upstate New York thought that the 15-round speakership race was a “mess,” they disagreed with the author’s characterization, and King felt their fury.
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“Utica is a great city!” Utica councilman Delvin J. Moody tweeted. “I am a Utica native and proud to be so. The speakership is a whole over cluster mess.”
“Hey, man… Utica is a great city,” New York Rep. Marcus Molinaro said.
“Utica is far from ‘The Dead Zone’ these days, Mr. King. Come and see how #OneidaCounty has grown,” Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. tweeted.
Celeste Friend, a councilor from Utica’s third district who is also vying for mayor, mocked King’s writing by writing on Twitter: “Third prize is being forced to read Insomnia cover to cover in one sitting.”
“Oof. Utica is great!” Sara Hughes, features editor for The Times Union, said.
Others advised that King go shopping at the Sangertown Square Mall, while others claimed that King must not have sampled some regional specialties like “chicken riggies,” tomato pie, or Utica Club beer.
Keeping sleeping on Utica. That just means more riggies, Comets, Utica Club, and tomato pie for the rest of us https://t.co/JuAS6I1mI2
— Nate Discavage (@DiscavageSavage) January 6, 2023
The city of Utica’s own Twitter account replied with one word, “mid,” which is considered slang for “trashy” or mediocre.
— The City of Utica, NY (@CityofUtica) January 6, 2023
King later “sincerely apologized” and joked that perhaps he should have singled out Cleveland or Salt Lake City instead.
I sincerely apologize to all the people from Utica I offended. I guess I should have said Cleveland?or Salt Lake City?
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) January 11, 2023
“Bet,” the city replied.
Bet 🤝 https://t.co/TgJwUGNXlV
— The City of Utica, NY (@CityofUtica) January 11, 2023
Kathy Hochul, the governor of New York, acknowledged King’s apology and cautioned the author “not to pick a fight with 20 million New Yorkers!”
Thanks for the apology, @StephenKing. A reminder not to pick a fight with 20 million New Yorkers!
We ❤️ Utica https://t.co/qMLrw8gZPA
— Governor Kathy Hochul (@GovKathyHochul) January 12, 2023
Several regional New York media sites noted that King has previously brought up Utica in his writing. King’s 1987 science fiction novel “The Tommyknockers” included a Utica native as the primary character. Additionally, according to the church’s website, King’s daughter, Naomi King, served as a minister at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Utica from 2005 to 2007. According to Syracuse.com, King has previously made light of the fact that the city is where he gets the inspiration for his writings. It is located 50 miles east of Syracuse.
“Utica,” King said in 2016. “I tell people I go to the used ideas store in Utica.”
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