As you may have heard, former Saved By The Bell actor, onetime Behind The Bell wordsmith, and occasional ’90s-theme-party host Dustin Diamond is in jail. Well, he’s supposed to be in jail, but he filed an appeal and is scheduled to be back in court July 2. Anyway, Diamond was found guilty of stabbing some dude in a Port Washington bar on Christmas Day 2014, and was recently sentenced to 120 days in the clink. Jail time or not, it’s good to know that the knife-wielding madman formerly known as Screech has been punished for his decidedly non-wacky hijinks. The world, the city of Port Washington, and Mark-Paul Gosselaar can sleep better.
But according to the director of two recent movies featuring Diamond, the embattled actor is not a knife-wielding madman. (The guy Diamond stabbed with a knife may feel differently.) In a lengthy, ever-so tongue-in-cheek press statement, director Dylan Bank valiantly comes to Diamond’s defense, lashes out at the “hot-headed hypocrites” who would label the actor a menace to society, and reminds everyone that two recent bad-on-purpose horror flicks featuring Diamond—Scavenger Killers and Bleeding Hearts—are available now. Here’s the entire statement, which is pretty funny:
As someone who has both worked and spent time at a bar recently with Dustin Diamond, I’d like to set the record straight. Dustin is being falsely portrayed in the media as a dangerous, knife-wielding madman, when in reality he’s a completely fun and charming madman. Though in his personal life Dustin has his fair share of troubles, which I hope and believe he can ultimately overcome, on set he was always a consummate professional, who blew everyone away with his fearless and unforgettable performances.
It’s really difficult to find anyone in America over 25 who who doesn’t know “Screech,” and consequently going out in public with Dustin is a trip: Dustin is incessantly stopped for photos by fans, women visibly compete for his attention, and he is routinely approached by people who want the dirt on what an asshole Mario Lopez was on Saved By The Bell. Sure, Dustin loves his Fireball Whiskey and on occasion can retreat into a dark place, but I have never seen him be violent in any respect, and from what I have read his unfortunate legal problems of late stem from a well-intentioned attempt on his part to defend his girlfriend. Many of the hot-head hypocrites who are so quick to label him would have likely ended up on death-row if they had the misfortune of similar circumstances.
While the media has been quick to feed on the morsels of Dustin’s ordeal, I ask that the public focus instead on Dustin’s tremendous talent as an actor, as evidenced by his recent performances in Scavenger Killers and Bleeding Hearts, two performances that will make you forget all about Screech. Forget what you’ve heard, Dustin is not an out-of-control knife-wielding maniac, he shows up on time, knows all of his lines, and gets eaten alive by a pack of sexy psychopaths like Brando would have, only better.
Is Bank’s opportunistic use of another man’s misfortune to promote some crummy movies—one of which features Charles Durning and Robert Loggia—reprehensible or just plain business? Are we all guilty of capitalizing on Diamond’s legal woes? Can anyone be blamed for retreating into a dark place after downing some shots of Fireball Whiskey? Does showing up on time and knowing your lines forgive all sins? Watch the NSFW trailers for Scavenger Killers and Bleeding Hearts below and decide for yourself.