I am so torn about the recent incident regarding Michael Richard's racist outburst at a Los Angeles comedy club last weekend. I have liked Michael Richards for years -- long before he was Kramer on Seinfeld. He was great on the show Fridays, he was hysterical in numerous movies, and, of course, Kramer is one of the all-time greatest TV characters.
When I saw that video of Richards on stage, shouting the N-word repeatedly, without any comedic context (and I'm not sure there could be one), I was shocked and appalled. It is truly disturbing to hear anyone say that type of crap, let alone someone you have admired for a long time. I don't think there is really any excuse for what he said.
But he said it, and it was captured on film for all to see -- over and over and over. Unlike another famous person (Mel Gibson) who went on a racial tirade recently, Michael Richards is not blaming his outburst on drugs or alcohol. He did not deny the incident happened or claim the comments were taken out of context (like Gibson). He immediately went on national TV and apologized (unlike Gibson who merely issued a statement).
I don't want anyone to interpret this posting as some sort of acceptance of what Richards said, but I do accept his apology. He seemed very sincere in his appearance last night on Letterman, and looked very sad that the whole thing happened. He did not blame anyone or anything other than himself. He took full responsibility and asked for forgiveness. I think that is all one can really do.
I have never heard of any past racist incidents involving Michael Richards, and although I could not imagine ever saying anything like what he said, I have to imagine that this was an isolated incident. I hope he is not blacklisted in Hollywood or picketed at his future performances. I'm not sure what else to say about this.
Tag: Michael Richards