The mother of one of the 22 people slain in the terror attack, that also injured more than 500, calls Davidson's remarks "heartbreaking and outrageous."
The comedian made the joke during a live stand-up set at the Laugh Factory in Los Angeles in October 2017, but it has only recently been resurfaced in an article by the Sunday Mirror.
Charlotte Hodgson, who is the mother of 15-year-old victim Olivia Campbell-Hardy, told the Mirror, "For anyone to joke about this situation is disgusting and I think he should publicly apologize for it."
She called Davidson's comments "heartbreaking and outrageous," adding that the other families "will find it equally as disgusting." 22 people died in the suicide bomb explosion on May 22 of last year at Manchester Arena in England, including families and children. More than 500 were injured.
During his set, Davidson joked that Grande must have known how famous she was now because "Britney Spears didn't have a terrorist attack at her concert." Davidson has a history of making uncomfortable and inappropriate jokes on sensitive subjects, including the death of his own father, a firefighter who perished in the Twin Towers on 9/11. But that doesn't help it sit better with the Manchester attack survivors.
Jade Clough, a survivor of the Manchester Arena bombing, called Davidson's jokes "absolutely disgusting." She suffered nerve damage to her foot and underwent therapy for emotional trauama. She told the Mirror, "I’m still suffering on a daily basis, I still have nightmares, and Ariana herself has suffered from PTSD. What the hell?"
Grande got a tattoo of a worker bee, symbolizing Manchester, to honor the victims of the suicide bomber and has expressed guilt in even sharing her own emotional struggles. She returned to Manchester on June 4, less than a month after the bombing, to put on the One Love Manchester benefit concert, raising nearly $3 million for the We Love Manchester Emergency Fund established after the attack.
"This isn’t something to joke about, it was a terrorist attack targeted at children," said Clough. "You don’t joke about things like that in a stand-up comedy show."
Davidson and Grande announced their engagement last month after a whirlwind romance of only a few weeks. Neither has commented on this latest controversy.