Will Ferrell: Racist SAE chants at Oklahoma University are a reason to ban fraternities, says Get Hard actor

The former frat boy says that the groups encourage elitism and should be done away with

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Will Ferrell has argued that fraternities should be banned altogether - despite the fact he was in one at university.

Comedy actor Ferrell, who was a member of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity at the University of Southern California, has said that frat culture has changed radically over the last few years.

"The incident in Oklahoma, that is a real argument for getting rid of the system altogether, in my opinion, even having been through a fraternity," Ferrell said during a New York Times Q&A. "Because when you break it down, it really is about creating cliques and clubs and being exclusionary."

The "Oklahoma incident" refers to the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity at Oklahoma University chanting: "There will never be a n***er SAE. You can hang 'em from a tree, but he’ll never sign with me. There will never be a n***er SAE." Two students have been expelled since news of the chant broke.

"Fraternities were started as academic societies that were supposed to have a philanthropic arm to them," Ferrell added. "And when it's governed by those kind of rules, then they're still beneficial. But you gotta be careful. I was lucky in that the one I was in, we were really kind of the anti-fraternity fraternity. We were considered good enough to get the exchanges with the good sororities."

Ferrell, now 47, said that his years in a fraternity were much more to do with arts and crafts and an upbeat attitude than playing politics or getting drunk.

"We couldn't get anyone to vote on anything, but if you needed 40 guys to show up and build a 20-foot-tall papier-mâché version of the Matterhorn, we were there and ready. But we didn't take it too seriously," he said.

"It was just about having fun," Ferrell continued. "But I think it's an interesting dilemma for universities these days."

Will Ferrell with Kevin Hart in 'Get Hard'

Ferrell's new film Get Hard has been at the centre of a racism debate itself. The film uses the n-word and some have argued that the story about the naive, white Wall Street trader being buddied by a streetwise black man (played by Kevin Hart) perpetuates negative stereotypes.

Ferrell's message to his critics was: "Send me handwritten notes. Hopefully on nice stationery."