The SNL star's joke resurfaced in a July 1 article from The Mirror, which stated that he said the May 2017 tragedy that killed 22 people and injured hundreds could be used as proof of Grande's fame. "Britney Spears didn't have a terrorist attack at her concert," he reportedly said.
Ever since, fans of the pop star haven't been laughing. When one fan tweeted that Davidson's joke was "not funny, it's just rude," Grande offered a thoughtful reply.
"This has been [very] tough & conflicting on my heart," she wrote. "He uses comedy to help ppl feel better [about] how f-ed up things in this world are. We all deal [with] trauma differently. I of course didn’t find it funny. It was months ago & his intention wasn’t/ is never malicious but it was unfortunate."
It makes sense that Davidson making light of the event would be difficult to reconcile. Grande has been open about the distress she's felt ever since the terrorist attack — which took place at the end of her concert in May 2017 — and her path to understanding even helped inspire the upside-down aesthetic of her upcoming album, Sweetener.
At the same time, as Grande alludes to in her tweet, she knows her comedian fiancé built his career by joking about sensitive topics — a pattern fueled by his own experience coping with tragedy. Davidson lost his father during the World Trade Center attacks on 9/11, and he unapologetically told The New York Times in 2015, “There’s nothing I won’t joke about, and I think it’s because of what happened to me. That’s the worst thing that could ever happen to somebody. Now it’s just like, ‘Who cares, man?’”
Whether Davidson will offer an apology for his Manchester joke remains to be seen, but hopefully Grande's explanation of how she's handling it can help others reach their own peace.