In 1993, Ted Danson was on the top of the world. His hit comedy series Cheers was in its final season, he was making millions and after a bitter divorce with his long-time wife Mary Steenberger, he was dating movie star Whoopi Goldberg.
In October, the Friar’s Club decided to roast Whoopi Goldberg and the two vocal President Bill Clinton supporters showed up to the club, Whoopi in a dazzling blue dress and Ted Danson in a minstral costume, Black face, top hat, tuxedo, white gloves and white lips. The crowd gasped, nobody could believe that Ted Danson would show up like that. Then he took the stage, not only did he speak in 1920s Blackspeak, but he used the N word more than five times and he even ate a watermelon.
Outrage? Hardly. The crowd was described by the media as “appalled” . A few days later, The Associated Press reported that Danson was ‘under fire’ for his performance at the roast. New York Mayor David Dinkins told the Daily News that he was “embarrassed for Whoopi” and that he and the audience “were relieved when it was over.” Actor Montel Williams, whose wife is White, stepped off the dias, put his arm around his crying wife and led her out of the venue. Danson had made fun of interracial children and the Williams had just had a mixed race baby.
Williams described the evening as “a meeting of the Klan”.
Whoopi today’s beacon of Political Correctness took the stage after her lover and started her remarks with ”Nigger, nigger, nigger, whitey, whitey, white. It takes a whole lot of (courage) to come out in blackface…I don’t care if you don’t like it, I do.”
Danson refused to apologize, but the Friar’s Club did “While raucous and X-rated humor are usually the tradition of these annual events, they are never intended to ridicule or disparage any segment of our society,” Jack L. Green, the dean of the New York Friars Club, said in a statement released yesterday. In a time when we are all concerned about healing and not dividing the races, we at the New York Friars Club apologize to Mayor Dinkins, Montel Williams and all others who were discomforted and offended by the racial remarks.”
What was Danson’s punishment for this major transgression? Cheers continued, with him as the lead, and gathered the second largest finale audience in television history. Danson went on in 1998 to play in the hit tv series Becker and can currently be seen in the hit series The Good Place. He is considered a legendary tv actor and a darling of the Progressive crowd.
Contrast that to the plight of Michael Richards. He was one of the ensemble that played on the hit tv series Seinfeld, he played Kramer. After the show’s wrap in 1998, Michael Richards went back to his roots in stand-up comedy. One evening in 2006, while performing at the Laugh Factory Comedy Club in Los Angeles, Richards was heckled by a group of Black spectators. He launched into a tirade calling them “niggers” several times and making references to lynching and the Jim Crow era. It was all captured on a cell phone video.
The next evening, Richards joined Jerry Seinfeld on Late Night With David Letterman and issued a heartfelt apology. “For me to be at a comedy club and to flip out and say this crap, I’m deeply, deeply sorry. I’m not a racist, that’s what’s so insane about this.” Richards said he had been trying to defuse heckling by being even more outrageous, but it backfired. He later called Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson to apologize, even appearing on Jackson’s syndicated radio program.
Richard’s punishment? Not long after the incident, Richards was put out to pasture and forced to retire from public life. In a 2012 episode of Seinfeld’s Netflix show, Richards said that the outburst still haunted him and prompted him to leave showbiz.
Tv stars that aren’t Clinton friends seem to get it the worst when they mess up. In the 1980s, Roseanne Barr was the queen of controversy. From intentionally butchering the American National Anthem at a baseball game to mooning The President, there wasn’t much of a low that Roseanne didn’t stoop to. She was also the queen of television, holding the top spot in the ratings in her timeslot for her comedy Roseanne for nearly a decade.
In 2018, ABC decided to reboot her series with the original cast. Roseanne was the headliner and the show was intended to be the continuing story of the Conner family. After blowing away the competition, Roseanne’s show finished the season as the number 1 show on television, it was renewed for a second season.
During the break, Roseanne tweeted a cryptic message early one morning, “muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj.” It was assumed that Roseanne, a Trump supporter who made her character on the reboot the only Trump supporting character on television, was referring to Obama aide Valerie Jarrett.
Three hours later, Roseanne was fired from her show and her show was cancelled. Roseanne deleted the tweet, went on an apology tour and even called Valerie Jarrett to apologize. Disney stood firm, Roseanne was a racist and they wanted no part of her.
Roseanne’s castmates who owe their careers to her, threw her under the bus. Each one individually, with the exception of John Goodman, coming out and condemning her as a racist. As Roseanne faded into obscurity, Sarah Gilbert, the most vocal condemner, who played her younger daughter Darlene, convinced the network to continue the show without the star and make her the star of the show. The Conners launched during the next tv season and is now entering its third season.
A harsh punishment for a cryptic tweet.
Jussie Smollett, an actor on a tv show called Empire staged a hate crime against himself. He hired his attackers and made a media spectacle of himself. He held the two Hollywood virtues that made him immune from criticism, he was Black and he was homosexual.
In January of 2019, Smollett put his plan into action. When it was revealed a few days later that the whole attack was a hoax, Smollett refused to apologize, refused to admit guilt.
His punishment? Charges for filing a false police report and staging a hate crime were dropped, he was a free man. HBO did not fire him from his show, they suspended him with pay and his reputation seems to be fine in Hollywood.
Some other notable mentions:
Cooking guru Paula Deen admitted to using the N word numerous times in her personal life. Deen apologized numerous times. She was fired from her Food Network cooking show.
Former Today Show host Matt Lauer was accused of sexual harassment numerous times at NBC. Knowing he was a sexual predator did not stop the network from protecting him by dropping a story on child molester Jeffery Epstein and not reporting on Harvey Weinstein’s sexual abuse of many Hollywood women.
Mel Gibson unleashed many anti-Jewish rants over the years. Although his roles have dried up, he’s still a Hollywood A-lister.
Morning man Don Imus was syndicated to millions of people every morning. One day in 2007 he referred to a college women’s basketball team as “nappy-headed hos”. Outrage ensued and although he apologized, his top rated morning show was cancelled, Imus retired.
Dr Laura Schlessinger in 2010 used the N word on her radio program in response to a Black woman seeking advice on dealing with her inlaws. She advised the woman that if she was hypersensitive about her color she shouldn’t marry outside the faith and then went on a rant about how Black rappers use the N word all the time.
Her punishment: Although she apologized and explained what she meant, her show was cancelled. Schlessinger then relaunched her show on Satellite radio where it still airs to a much smaller audience today.
The moral of the story, lefty hypocrisy is harsh when they don’t agree with your political standpoint and quite lenient when they do. The Hollywood message: Conform or die.