In the episode, Andrea Fay Friedman, a 39-year-old actress and public speaker, voices Ellen, a girl with Down syndrome who is identified as the daughter of "the former governor of Alaska." It was a clear reference to Palin, whose son Trig has Down syndrome.
Palin called the episode a "kick in the gut." In a statement, Palin's daughter Bristol said, "Shouldn't we be willing to say that some things just are not funny? Are there any limits to what some people will do or say in regards to my little brother or others in the special needs community?"
Friedman, like the character she played on the animated Fox comedy, has Down syndrome. She said in a statement to the New York Times that "former Governor Palin does not have a sense of humor."
"I thought the line 'I am the daughter of the former governor of Alaska' was very funny," Friedman said in the statement. "I think the word is 'sarcasm.'"
"In my family we think laughing is good," added Friedman. "My parents raised me to have a sense of humor and to live a normal life."
In a portion of her email not published by the Times reported by the blog Palingates, Friedman went on to say that "My mother did not carry me around under her arm like a loaf of French bread the way former Governor Palin carries her son Trig around looking for sympathy and votes."
Friedman, who has appeared on the television show "Life Goes On," told the Times that she is "proud" of playing a character with Down syndrome on "Family Guy" and "not embarrassed." She added that she "was making fun of Sarah Palin, but not her son."
Palin told Fox News in reference to the episode that "this world is full of cruel, cold-hearted people who would do such a thing." (Watch at left.)
The 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee has called for the firing of White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel for referring to a group of liberals as "F-ing retarded." She was criticized for subsequently dismissing the repeated use of the word "retard" by conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh as satire.