Simon Vozick-Levinson
July 26, 2007 AT 04:18 AM EDT

Lindsay Lohan’s recent DUI arrest has sparked the usual spike in anxious headlines and snarky jokes. That’s how Hollywood works, right? You screw up in public and you’re in for an unstoppable barrage of not-so-nice publicity. But this time, one thing’s different: Barbara Walters isn’t playing along anymore. She used her bully pulpit on The View this morning to lash out at those who make light of Lohan’s troubles. Her breaking point was a Tonight Show appearance by that noted arbiter of sensitivity, Rob Schneider; it seems that since Lohan was unable to make her scheduled visit to Tuesday night’s show, Schneider dressed up in drag, donned a blonde wig, and played the absent starlet’s role on Leno’s couch. According to Walters, this bit of humor “just seems so mean.” So does she have a point, or what? (Check out the gag for yourself below.)

Of course she does! Like virtually everything else the guy does these days, Schneider’s routine was not only in fairly poor taste, but painfully unfunny to boot. Leno: “What happened last night?”  Schneider/Lohan: “Well, I’m Irish, Jay. For the Irish, St. Paddy’s Day is like the whole summer.” Studio audience: “HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!” Oof. This drivel went on for 10 interminable minutes, long enough for Schneider to cross all sorts of lines, not just the ones surrounding Lohan’s dignity.

But here’s the thing: Schneider’s antics may be out of line, but what about all the people who are invading Lohan’s privacy in real life — the mainstream media outlets that broadcast this 21-year-old’s unflattering mugshot far and wide, speculate about her partying habits, and do interviews with her troubled, way-too-talkative parents? The professional vultures who are out there flooding the zone on this story are being far more exploitative toward Lohan than any lame jokester. So, sure, Walters was right to tell Schneider and Leno to knock it off. But if she’s really concerned about getting people to treat Lohan with a little human respect, she should aim a little higher than Deuce Bigalow. Shouldn’t she?

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