“Seinfeld” star Michael Richards offered an apology for his racist comments last night on the David Letterman Show.
“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.”
“I’m not a racist. That’s what’s so insane about this,” Richards said. He also described himself as going into ‘rage’ over being interrupted.
During the brief interview Richards seemed to get frustrated after some audience members laughed when he used the term ‘Afro American’. “I’m hearing your audience laugh and I’m not even sure that this is where I should be addressing the situation,” he said.
All this started when Richards went into a three minute rant full of racist epithets. He used the N-word multiple times when referring to the two black men. During the tirade Richards says “Shut up! Fifty years ago we’d have you upside down with a f – – – fork up your a – .”
He then paced across the stage taunting the men for interrupting his show, lacing his speech with racial slurs and profanities. At one point he even started talking to the audience saying “It shocks you. It shocks you”. The two men as well as many audience members started leaving the venue.
Richards himself was not scheduled to be on the Letterman Show, but his longtime friend Jerry Seinfeld was. Earlier Monday Seinfeld issued an statement saying he was “sick over this horrible, horrible mistake” and calling it offensive. He encouraged Richards to appear on the show via satellite and make a public statement.
“He’s someone that I love and I know how shattered he is about” what happened, Seinfeld said on “Letterman.”
Dozens of organizations and protesters had come forward yesterday demanding an apology for Richard’s behavior. They also demanded an apology from the Laugh Factory. At a news conference club owner Jamie Masada expressed apologized and expressed remorse for what took place. Masada said Richards will not be back at the club until he says he’s sorry.
“This is one thing we don’t tolerate. … I personally apologize. I apologize from my heart,” Masada said Monday.
As reported yesterday the Laugh Factory did allow Richards to perform on Saturday, this time without incident, but according to the Laugh Factory he was only allowed to return because he had told the club he intended on apologizing for his remarks.
Fellow comedians have also spoke out against Richards’ behavior. During a news conference yesterday, Comedian Paul Rodriguez, who was at the club, said that he thought that Richards’ comments were out of line.
“Once the word comes out of your mouth and you don’t happen to be African-American, then you have a whole lot of explaining,” he said. “Freedom of speech has its limitations and I think Michael Richards found those limitations.”
Comedian George Lopez told Los Angeles television station KTLA he thought Richards’ lack of stand-up experience may have been a factor.
“You have an actor who is trying to be a comedian who doesn’t know what to do when an audience is disruptive,” Lopez said. “He’s an actor whose show has been off the air, he shouldn’t ever be on a stand-up gig.”
It’s being said that this type of incident could more then likely ruin Richards career. Veteran publicist Michael Levine said Monday. “I think it’s a career ruiner for him. … It’s going to be a long road back for him, if at all.”
While there seems to be plenty of scrutiny over Richards’ comments, it will probably never reach the magnitude of the Mel Gibson controversy. Mel Gibson argued many when during a recent arrest, he made equally offensive comments toward the Jewish community.
Before his satellite appearance on the Late Show, Richards nor his reps could be reached for comment. He refused to comment on-camera when reached by CNN earlier Monday, but the network reported he said off-camera he felt sorry for what had happened and had made amends.