The Huffington Post reports that comedian Katt Williams has released an “apology” for remarks he made to an audience member of Mexican descent last weekend that have outraged many of his fans on YouTube and members of the Latino community, including prominent Mexican-American author Luis Rodriguez.
In part of his response to his heckler, Williams launched into a tirade against Mexicans living in the United States. A rough transcription of the remarks, courtesy of the Huffington Post:
Since y’all like it over here a lot. and I’m saying, if I’m speaking out of line, let me know. But I’m saying it appears to me, y’all like it over here a lot. And let me tell you why I’m making that assumption, because I have no right to make that assumption. But understand this, this what gives me the right, and don’t you get it twisted … If y’all had California and you loved it, then you shouldn’t have given that mothaf*cka up. You should have fought for California, goddamnit, since you love it …
Because you think I’m dissing Mexico and I’m defending America. Are you Mexican? Do you know where Mexico is? No this ain’t Mexico, it used to be Mexico, motherf*cker, and now it’s Phoenix, goddammit. USA! USA!
F*ck you back, n*gga. i bet you dont even go to mexico, motha f*cka … no n*gga, do you know where you at? USA! USA! I dont give a f*ck. no n*gga, this is my hood … [security comes] F*ck him! Mothaf*ckas think they can live in this country and pledge allegience to another country … do you remember when white people used to say go back to Africa? And we’d have to tell them we dont want to? So if you love Mexico, bitch, get the f*ck over there! [breaks into the National Anthem].
We were slaves bitch, you just all work like that at the landscapers … It’s not even racial — you’re a bitch! I don’t give a f*ck what race that is, that’s a p*ssy.”
In his statement, Williams explains, “My remarks were not meant to be offensive. I want to apologize if my comedy act was taken out of context. I sincerely appreciate my fans within the Mexican community and would never intentionally go out of my way to offend them.”
Sigh. “[If] my comedy act was taken out of context”? What context did we miss? We saw the entire video. And he says he would never “intentionally” offend his Mexican fans. So is the message that if it happens by mistake in the middle of an angry rant at a heckler, then it’s all good?
Our message to Williams: If you’re not sorry, fine. As any Internet commenter can tell you, you have a right to free speech. So stand behind your routine and carry on with the support of fans who think hate and bigotry are acceptable parts of humor. There are plenty. But if you actually are sorry, how about issuing a statement that takes responsibility for hurtful things you said and the prejudices that inspired them, and attempts to move the conversation forward?