Comedian Katt Williams came under fire last week when a video surfaced of a comedy routine in which he berated a heckler in the audience of a Phoenix show with comments that were widely deemed anti-Mexican. Now he tells CNN’s T.J. Holmes that he had nothing to do with the apology that was issued on his behalf. (His explanation of its origins: “A lot of stuff has been happening to a lot of black celebrities in the world. We just deal with it, thank Jesus, and keep on going.”)
He does, however, provide some of the context that the mysterious apology suggested, explaining that his comments were in response to the heckler’s assertion that “all of this [Phoenix] is still Mexico.”
“Black people worked too hard to become Americans … Don’t come here talking to sons of slaves,” he says, insisting that his remarks were directed at that individual only.
Asked questions including whether he was out of line to say, “We were slaves. Y’all just work like that at the landscaper,” Williams tells Holmes that the brand of comedy he sells means he is “not allowed” to apologize for the remarks, explaining that he only regrets “the fact that the word ‘anti-Mexican’ is being said to a black guy in America.”
The reasoning behind Williams’ defense of his comments leaves a lot to be desired. First, the idea that the history of slavery in this country somehow gives African Americans immunity from criticism when we offend other ethnic groups doesn’t add up. At all. Second, we’re not convinced that bigoted statements about Mexican Americans generally are made any better because they were directed at one individual. Finally, if you don’t want to apologize, that’s up to you. But give us a break — don’t say you’re “not allowed” to. Clearly, you do whatever you want.
But at least Williams’ willingness to explain the intention behind his remarks and his “I meant what I said; take me or leave me” attitude represent a refreshing change from the trite and meaningless apologies we normally hear when celebrities and politicians slip up and show their true colors.
Read more at CNN.
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