watching reruns of the sitcom Seinfeld about seven years ago when I heard about
Michael Richards’ racist tirade in 2006 at Laugh Factory, a Los Angeles comedy club. When heckled by two Black people
attending his show, he called them “nigger” at least six times and said “Fifty
years ago we’d have you upside down with a…fork up your ass.” Richards played Cosmo Kramer – a buffoon – in
Seinfeld. It turned out that Richards
himself is a buffoon – a racist one. (After the incident, a spokesperson for Laugh Factory said that Richards was no longer welcome on their stage.)
apologized for his rant. “I’m not a
racist”, he said. “That’s what’s so
insane about this…and yet…it fires out of me.”
The insanity of this incident, however, is found in the fact that in his
apology he denied being a racist.
Michael Levine, a publicist, predicted that Richards’ outburst would be
“a career ruiner.”
about this now? The publicist was wrong. It seems that Richards’ career may not have
been ruined after all. It was derailed
for a while but he will be costarring in a pilot for TV Land with Kirstie Alley
and Rhea Perlman this fall. TV Land is
owned by MTV Networks Entertainment Group.
MTV Networks is part of a division of the global media company Viacom. Consumers who are offended by the revelation
of Richards’ blatant racism should do all that we can to make sure that the
prediction that Richards’ career would be ruined remains true. It is not enough to avoid or boycott TV
Land. Consumers should communicate with
decision makers at MTV Networks, and even Viacom, to express concern
about a company willing to advance the career of an overt racist.
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