A resurfaced video showing Louis CK using the n-word has prompted a backlash from fellow entertainers.
In a clip from Talking Funny, which hosted a roundtable between CK, Jerry Seinfeld, Ricky Gervais and Chris Rock in 2011, CK says: “When a black guy gets rich, it’s a countdown to when he’s poor again.”
His comments prompt laughter from his fellow comedians and Rock – who starred in the CK written and directed 2001 comedy Pootie Tang -– calls him “the blackest white guy I f***ing know”.
He continues by saying “all the negative things we think about black people, this f***er–” before CK interrupts: “You’re saying I’m a n*****?”
Rock responds: “You are the n*****est f***ing white man I have ever [met].” Gervais can be heard in the background cracking up.
Seinfeld, who seems uncomfortable during the entire conversation, says he does not think CK should use the slur. Seinfeld also adds that he would not use the word in any situation. At one point, Gervais says the n-word — and laughs while doing so.
Anyone familiar with CK’s work will likely be unsurprised to come across the clip. The disgraced comedian has an entire bit in his stand-up comedy special Chewed Up that shows him addressing and using the word.
However, the resurfaced video has still attracted condemnation from figures in the media and entertainment.
Former ESPN host-turned Atlantic staff writer Jemele Hill wrote: “I know black folks who are completely comfortable with white people saying the n-word in their presence. Have had to tell a few white folks that I’m not that black person. Still it says something the only person who was uncomfortable was Seinfeld.”
She added: “Note how proud Ricky Gervais was of the fact he used the n-word. And Louis CK basically said he’s one because black folks ain’t shit. Chris Rock is getting crucified, but those other two deserve massive smoke.”
Responding to a comment on Twitter, she wrote: “It’s quite clear that even if Chris Rock wasn’t born, Gervais and Louis CK were going to be using the n-word. Black people never have and never will give white folks permission to call us that. That’s the jig. We get blamed for their use of it like they ever need our approval.”
Comedian Wayne Brady also condemned those involved when asked about the video by TMZ.
“It was inappropriate,” he said. “Louis CK shouldn’t have been saying it. Chris Rock shouldn’t have signed off on it. Ricky Gervais sure as hell shouldn’t have said it and I’m a Ricky Gervais fan.”
“I just think it’s completely inappropriate that Louis CK felt so comfortable,” he added. “People feel too comfortable saying that and just don’t. I don’t care if your best friend is the blackest dude in the world, don’t.”
Brady noted that, although having a more considered approach to the conversation, Seinfeld was not deserving of praise. “Seinfeld stayed out of it, but that doesn’t make him a hero or a saint,” he said. “It just made him tactically smart.”
He later tweeted on Sunday: “So TMZ caught me at LAX and asked me about this video from 2011. I hadn’t seen it til last night. For some reason it’s made the rounds again and has people talking. I’m happy I could put two sentences together this morning.”
Brady also noted that he is not on board with old conversations being dragged back into current news and judged without a full understanding of whether or not the people involved have already apologised.
So far, none of the people involved have responded to the new furore.
CK has been attempting to make a comeback on the comedy circuit, just months after admitting that the multiple sexual misconduct allegations against him were true.
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies