November 20, 2006
Kramer's Ugly Tirade[Post Updated with video of Richards' apology below.]
Michael Richards' racial tirade was one of the ugliest I've ever seen. Story and video at TMZ.
Towards the end, he seemed to realize what he's done and tried to cover it up by making it seem part of his act. It didn't work; many in the audience left in disgust. He eventually put the mike down and walked offstage.
Richards did appear via satellite on the Letterman show at the urging of friend Jerry Seinfeld, where he apologized and admitted losing his temper:
"For me to be at a comedy club and flip out and say this crap, I'm deeply, deeply sorry," the former "Seinfeld" co-star said during a satellite appearance for David Letterman's "Late Show" in New York.His apology seemed heartfelt and raw enough that I don't think a publicist or PR manager had any hand in shaping it. He seemed shellshocked, which might explain why the awkward reference to the "black/white conflict" and the overall hostile atmosphere in this country seemed like an attempt to distance himself from his behavior rather than an acknowledgment that his actions were reprehensible. He should apologize again until he gets it right.
Do I believe he's a bigot? Yes and no. I believe that he believes he isn't, but the hateful things that came out of his mouth tells me that he is. He just doesn't know it yet.
It's during unguarded moments that our true nature reveals itself. I once got into a shouting match with a woman who happened to be African American; though my intense anger scared me, calling her the N word or anything remotely racial never crossed my mind. Richards' hateful litany tells me there are some ugly truths about himself that he should own up to and work on.
As for opinions like this, all I can say is that when someone tells you an epithet is personally hurtful and deeply offensive, it is not up to you to decide it isn't; you just quit saying it. This shouldn't need explaining. In this day and age, there shouldn't be any room for racist nonsense or superstitious xenophobia.
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