Howard Stern addresses resurfaced racist material
Howard Stern has addressed the clips from his pay-per-view 1993 New Year’s Eve special -- where he appeared in Blackface and said the N-word -- that have resurfaced in the last two weeks and were recently retweeted by Donald Trump Jr.
The clips were posted by filmmaker Tariq Nasheed who cut them with footage of Howard Stern on The View saying he'd never used the N-word. The 1993 footage has Stern parodying Ted Danson's infamous blackface appearance at a 1993 Friar's Club roast of his then girlfriend, Whoopi Goldberg. Stern played Danson while The Jeffersons star Sherman Hemsley played Whoopi Goldberg. Donald Trump Jr retweeted right wing website The Right Scoop who wrote "NSFW: Howard Stern says N-word too many times during awful blackface impression that should have Libs yelling 'CANCEL!'”
Stern has been trading barbs with Donald Trump Jr and father Donald Trump (who used to be a regular on his show in the '90s) for much of this year. On today's SiriusXM show, Stern expressed regret for what he did but also said he has changed and that the Trumps have not. From his show (via Deadline):
The big headline is this, and this is my fear in all of this, I was able to change my approach, able to change my life and change how I communicated. If I had to do it all over again, would I lampoon Ted Danson, a white guy in blackface? Yeah, I was lampooning him and saying, I’m going to shine a light on this. But would I go about it the same way now? Probably not. Not probably, I wouldn’t. At the same point, I will say, it fucking distresses me that Donald Trump Jr, and Donald, themselves won’t go into psychotherapy and change. Why not change the way you’re approaching things because, wearing a mask is not a bad thing. Telling people the actual size of the crowd at your inauguration is okay. Attacking me during the coronavirus and Black Lives Matter is absolutely fucking crazy, concentrating on me. You want to concentrate on me and bully me, and expose me, with all the TV shows I’ve done? They’re all out there. There’s nothing new here. We all know. I was the craziest motherf*cker on radio. There will never be another show crazier than mine. There will never be another show, ever, that was as fucking wacky as my show. So crazy, I think I might have been insane. A psychiatrist puts it that I was craving too much attention. Like maybe I could knock it down 20% and still live my life and have an audience. Which was right. There it is. I’m not a hater. I’m excited about being on the radio as most of those who listen on the radio know. I’m excited about gay rights, telling you not to beat up gay people. I’m excited about the changes that are coming out of Black Lives Matter. Watching [George Floyd] choked to death, as I’ve said before, it’s sickening and appalling and I think real change might be in the air. It has nothing to do with me; it’s these guys hitting the streets and saying we’ve had enough. I’m excited about real change that is coming…I’m excited about the changes I’ve made in my approach to radio. But Jesus Christ, anybody who wants….I would suggest the people who are listening now have heard my shows over the past 40 years.
Howard went on to say, in regards to Donald Trump, "Dude, if you’re the president of the United States and you want to worry about me, go ahead. I don’t think I have much influence honestly. And breaking news: Howard Stern was absolutely insane and out of his mind. I would take on anything and say anything and do anything. All the old shows prove it. I’ve heard a rumor they’re working on leaking out the movie Private Parts. I own everything I did. I never did it behind the scenes, I did it right in front of your face. Always. Tried to make a point, sometimes, sometimes not. If you solve the pandemic, then we can go and review all my old shows. I paid a fortune to fix me, it ain’t easy. I would do anything. By the way if you did some more digging you would find I was fired by a ton of radio stations for a lot of different reasons."
Robin Quivers, who is Stern's longtime cohost, is Black and was also part of the 1993 sketch, said "I have long been a proponent of free speech and a long time ago I made a vow to myself that one word was never going to keep me out of a room. I don't care about that word, don't care about being called an Uncle Tom, because I know who I am and what I stand for...I have listened to Stern since he first got to New York in the 1980s, and he certainly has evolved from the moment he described, when it was, anything goes. And you can feel the influence of his psychotherapy sessions in the long interviews he does with artists. Some humor on the SiriusXM show still crosses the line, clearly, but he has long been a voice for inclusion and for women's rights and the LGBTQ cause."