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  1. #1
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    Richards (Kramer) hires damage control

    By SOLVEJ SCHOU

    LOS ANGELES (AP) - Michael Richards is doing damage control. In the aftermath of his racist tirade against two black hecklers during a standup comedy routine, Richards on Wednesday hired a publicist with strong ties to the black community who set up calls to the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.

    New York publicist Howard Rubenstein took on Richards as a client, then arranged for the actor to call the black leaders.

    "Michael apologized profusely," Rubenstein said. "He wants to heal the tremendous wound that he's inflicted on the American public, and on the African-American community. ... I think it was a positive discussion."

    Jackson said Richards called "expressing his remorse and his confusion."

    "He's embarrassed. He got caught on tape. That's a big part of his anxiety now," said Jackson.

    "Clearly he needs some race sensibility training, and some psychiatric help. His anger is volatile and dangerous to himself and others," Jackson said. "I hope he gets the help he needs. But the culture that's producing this kind of animosity toward blacks must be addressed. ... We're increasingly facing cultural isolation in Hollywood, in the movies and in TV."

    Calls to Sharpton's home and to his National Action Network on Wednesday were not immediately returned.

    Richards, who played kooky neighbor Kramer on "Seinfeld," lashed out at the hecklers last week during a performance at West Hollywood's Laugh Factory. A video of his rant then appeared on TMZ.com.

    The video shows him calling one of the hecklers a racial epithet, and repeating it over and over again.

    In a subsequent satellite appearance on the "Late Show with David Letterman," Richards said his tirade was fueled by anger, not bigotry.

    The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People said in a statement Wednesday that Richards' comments and anti-Semitic ones by Mel Gibson this year point to a trend in American culture, and that Richards' declaration "is indicative of the type of denial that too often accompanies racist rhetoric."

    Rubenstein, whose media relations firm specializes in "crisis management," according to its Web site, said he had never met or spoken to Richards before the actor called him.

    "He convinced me that he was sincere in his repentance and would do what's right," Rubenstein said.

    "I've been very involved in the African-American community for 25 to 30 years," Rubenstein continued. "It would be a tragedy if this exacerbated our race relations. I hope I can help. ... It's always been an effort on my part to improve African-American and Jewish ethnic relations."

    As for reports that Richards shouted out anti-Semitic remarks during another standup comedy routine in April, Rubenstein confirmed that Richards did, but that he was only role-playing.

    "He's Jewish. He's not anti-Semitic at all. He was role-playing, he was playing a part. He did use inappropriate language, but he doesn't have any anti-Semitic feelings whatsoever," Rubenstein said.

    "Michael says that he has a very hot temper, and that he says inappropriate things from time to time. Yes, there's no excuse for that."

  2. #2
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    Re: Richards (Kramer) hires damage control

    One of the things that amazes me about this article is that Richards, who is Jewish, seems to be turning to Jews to appeal to us and blacks (Seinfeld and Rubenstein). My first reaction was "Huh?!?!?!" If I was in Richards position, wouldn't it be better to hire a BLACK publicist? Who's this Rubenstein guy?

    The article says he hired Rubenstein to get in touch with Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. Why the middle man? Why not just go and apologize yourself? And why Jackson and Sharpton? Aren't they ultra liberal? Isn't this apology owed to both liberal and conservative blacks? And is that why Richards couldn't help bringing up Hurricane Katrina in his apology?

    Where was this sympathy I'm seeing for Richards on this forum for Mel Gibson? And why such a difference in treatment in the press as well? Is anyone else noticing all this?

    I don't buy any of this. This whole thing is starting to seem like one big giant rolling snow ball of lies getting bigger and bigger. It looks incredibly insincere, and I think it's going to be interesting to question the players that are getting involved in this.

  3. #3
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    Re: Richards (Kramer) hires damage control

    Quote Originally Posted by Ronald
    And is that why Richards couldn't help bringing up Hurricane Katrina in his apology?
    He didn't just pull the Katrina references out of thin air for no reason.

    Richards mentioning of Katrina was in correlation with COMIC RELIEF 2006; a fund raiser Billy Crystal, Whoopie Goldberg and Robin Williams have done for the last 20 years that donates ALL of the money they collect to a specific cause each year. This year's recipients are the victims of Katrina. Comic Relief was a live program, based out of Las Vegas - with other comediennes "live via satellite" from New Orleans. The show was broadcast live on Saturday night on HBO, the night after Richards blew his stack. It's too bad you missed it - there was alot of really fun stuff.. !

    If you listen again to Richards' apology on Letterman, you will hear him make reference to "other comics" who are trying to help Katrina victims. He's pretty much saying that the timing of his outrageous behavior couldn't have been worse. Here's the transcript of that portion of his apology:

    Thereís a great deal of disturbance in this country and how black feel about what happened in Katrina, and, you know, many of the comics, many of performers are in Las Vegas and New Orleans trying to raise money for what happened there, and for this to happen, for me to be in a comedy club and flip out and say this crap, you know, Iím deeply, deeply sorry.

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    Re: Richards (Kramer) hires damage control

    Jackson: "But the culture that's producing this kind of animosity toward blacks must be addressed. ... We're increasingly facing cultural isolation in Hollywood, in the movies and in TV."

    And how do ya figure that, Jesse? I was under the impression it was the other way around.

    You can't find a movie, TV show, commercial, or billboard, for that matter, without seeing a black, white, asian and hispanic -- all at once. It seems THE MAN is going out of his way -- almost to the point of absurdity -- to please every ethnicity under the sun.

    Maybe Rev. Jackson can ask Rev. Sharpton to help exercise the demon of bullsh!t responsible for almost every single word that comes out of his mouth.
    Last edited by yossarian; 11-23-2006 at 12:18 PM.

  5. #5
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    Re: Richards (Kramer) hires damage control

    Quote Originally Posted by Connecticut Victim
    He didn't just pull the Katrina references out of thin air for no reason.

    Richards mentioning of Katrina was in correlation with COMIC RELIEF 2006; a fund raiser Billy Crystal, Whoopie Goldberg and Robin Williams have done for the last 20 years that donates ALL of the money they collect to a specific cause each year. This year's recipients are the victims of Katrina. Comic Relief was a live program, based out of Las Vegas - with other comediennes "live via satellite" from New Orleans. The show was broadcast live on Saturday night on HBO, the night after Richards blew his stack. It's too bad you missed it - there was alot of really fun stuff.. !

    If you listen again to Richards' apology on Letterman, you will hear him make reference to "other comics" who are trying to help Katrina victims. He's pretty much saying that the timing of his outrageous behavior couldn't have been worse. Here's the transcript of that portion of his apology:

    Thereís a great deal of disturbance in this country and how black feel about what happened in Katrina, and, you know, many of the comics, many of performers are in Las Vegas and New Orleans trying to raise money for what happened there, and for this to happen, for me to be in a comedy club and flip out and say this crap, you know, Iím deeply, deeply sorry.
    Excellent point. My bad. Didn't catch that. That would explain it.

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    Re: Richards (Kramer) hires damage control

    Sadly, Michael Richards did not have the ability to deal with the situation. More than likely, he will fade into the dust. I think a little reality check is in order. He didn't physically hurt anyone - and the only reason we have video of this sad event is courtesy of some "slimey little person" with a cellphone. What are the Las Vegas odds that the "slime" knows "the hecklers". Can we spell "set-up"? Mr. Richards will have to make his own amends - my daughter is only 12 and she knows better than that.
    Do any of you know who said " They know not what they do"? This whole fiasco is a non-issue. Radicals trying to create a situation. They need to do a litltle more homework. Who worries that a "comedian" could be a terrorist? If your answer is "I do"
    then the next question must be - Are your alphabets talking to you?

  7. #7
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    Re: Richards (Kramer) hires damage control

    Quote Originally Posted by linda49
    Sadly, Michael Richards did not have the ability to deal with the situation. More than likely, he will fade into the dust. I think a little reality check is in order. He didn't physically hurt anyone - and the only reason we have video of this sad event is courtesy of some "slimey little person" with a cellphone. What are the Las Vegas odds that the "slime" knows "the hecklers". Can we spell "set-up"? Mr. Richards will have to make his own amends - my daughter is only 12 and she knows better than that.
    Do any of you know who said " They know not what they do"? This whole fiasco is a non-issue. Radicals trying to create a situation. They need to do a litltle more homework. Who worries that a "comedian" could be a terrorist? If your answer is "I do"
    then the next question must be - Are your alphabets talking to you?
    They're saying "Ooooooo".

    I think what you're proposing is totally, totally absurd. It is impossible to set someone up into saying saying the n word.

  8. #8
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    Re: Richards (Kramer) hires damage control

    what did the hecklers say?? no one has addressed that--the story could be more clearly portrayed.

    no matter what the circumstances, Richards made a spectacularly poor choice in terms of stage acting. I mean, what could the hecklers possibly have said to inspire the "pitch fork up the ass" word choice???

    the "nigger" epithet pales in comparison.

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    Re: Richards (Kramer) hires damage control

    Quote Originally Posted by Microcosma000
    what did the hecklers say?? no one has addressed that--the story could be more clearly portrayed.

    no matter what the circumstances, Richards made a spectacularly poor choice in terms of stage acting. I mean, what could the hecklers possibly have said to inspire the "pitch fork up the ass" word choice???

    the "nigger" epithet pales in comparison.
    That's an interesting question. Using your logic, would you also ask what the Jews did to inspire Hitler to commit genocide against them? Or what Tutsis did to merit the Hutus killing them? Or perhaps what the people in WTC did to make those terrorists fly into the building?

    I have an alternative to your logic. How about assigning responsibility to people's own actions?

  10. #10
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    Re: Richards (Kramer) hires damage control

    What has happened here was incredible. One audience member had a cell phone with a camera. Cameras aren't allowed in the club, but they can't make you leave cell phones. He records the incident.

    That mainstream media doesn't play the footage. Where does it break? A source independent of the mainstream - TMZ.com.

    We have a powerful media monopoly, powerful people who try to dictate what we think, what our mind focuses on. Michael Richards was in a star about a show about nothing. But some guy with a cellphone camera changed that. Now the show is about something else. And Jerry Seinfeld, and David Letterman, and Rubenstein, and this monopoly is struggling to defend him.

    The reason this forum exists, and alternative information sources exist is because the monopoly has failed us morally. They aren't good enough. Our lives are not about nothing. Who Richards is was shown, for however briefly. And it is unpredictable and delicious.

    Think for yourselves, and be honest. Was Richards simply angry, or did racism have to exist in him for him to say "50 years ago, we'd have hung you and stuck a fork up your ass". What was he talking about? Who is Kramer? Who is Seinfeld and Letterman?

    I think the question is bigger than is Kramer racist. I think the big question is the mainstream media racist. That's a big question I don't really have the answer to, but that's what this incident has me thinking. Who are these guys?
    Last edited by Ronald; 11-24-2006 at 09:05 AM.

  11. #11
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    Re: Richards (Kramer) hires damage control

    Ronald - I cannot defend Mr. Richards - He will pay dearly for his mistake. I wonder if any of us are "politically correct" 100% of the time? I truly believe not. The "hecklers" get off scott free - why? If M.R.'s responses are racist (I think his rant is clearly a mental problem- BUT, we really should review the hecklers comments that prompted the reply - if you hold him acountable for his response).
    I believe we are better than this - the public in general. The hype is media driven - anyone who participates in the "damage control" is part of the problem.
    This could be a great opportunity for our racially diverse society to "kick these clowns to the curb". This stupid situation should not be given any merit - too many people have worked too hard and sacrificed too much for the common good for this "cellphone video" to be considered socially significant, at all. Maybe "funniest videos" is the venue for this crap (for crap it is).
    My opinion is - this guy was not "having a good day" - he is not a "superstar" - He needs the money. Could you maintain your calm if a couple of idiots made it their mission to destroy you? Micheal Richards is toast - Maybe that's as it should be....but I doubt any of us would have done much better in this senario.

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    Re: Richards (Kramer) hires damage control

    This is nothing less than a "blood bath" for poor ole Kramer. The muck and mire
    is being worked by those who stand to profit from this whole mess. There
    is nothing short of a public hanging/lynching that would satisfy those who
    have been whipped into a frenzy over this.
    Has anyone thought about the fact that no one living today was a slave
    master and no one living today was a slave....actually go back several
    decades before either can be found.
    People repeat behaviors because they work for them.
    Its interesting who stands to benefit from this debocle. :rolleyes:

  13. #13
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    Re: Richards (Kramer) hires damage control

    Quote Originally Posted by linda49
    Ronald - I cannot defend Mr. Richards - He will pay dearly for his mistake. I wonder if any of us are "politically correct" 100% of the time? I truly believe not. The "hecklers" get off scott free - why? If M.R.'s responses are racist (I think his rant is clearly a mental problem- BUT, we really should review the hecklers comments that prompted the reply - if you hold him acountable for his response).
    I believe we are better than this - the public in general. The hype is media driven - anyone who participates in the "damage control" is part of the problem.
    This could be a great opportunity for our racially diverse society to "kick these clowns to the curb". This stupid situation should not be given any merit - too many people have worked too hard and sacrificed too much for the common good for this "cellphone video" to be considered socially significant, at all. Maybe "funniest videos" is the venue for this crap (for crap it is).
    My opinion is - this guy was not "having a good day" - he is not a "superstar" - He needs the money. Could you maintain your calm if a couple of idiots made it their mission to destroy you? Micheal Richards is toast - Maybe that's as it should be....but I doubt any of us would have done much better in this senario.
    If I was Richards, and I was in that scenario, and I lost my cool, I'd call the guy an a-hole and maybe insult his mother or something. Insulting his race would be the furthest thing from my mind. Same with pretty much all my friends and family.

    I was reading a city newspaper, and it showed a heavily biased article in Richard's favor, showing how "broken up" he is about the experience. In that same paper, there was a small caption showing Mel Gibson, the photo far more unflattering than Kramer's, that read "anti-semetic tirade". Seeing how the media treats Richards over Kramer is very obvious.

    The media is basically trying to pressure people into thinking: "Come on, have a heart. He's not a racist. He didn't mean it. He's really beat up and emotional. Stop kicking a sweet man while he's down." Where was this for Gibson? I will not put up with the imposed stigma of being insensitive. Richards is obviously harbouring some deep racism, it slipped out, and anger doesn't explain it. He's racist. Period. And he and a lot of people are lying like crazy about it.
    Last edited by Ronald; 11-28-2006 at 05:31 PM.

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    Re: Richards (Kramer) hires damage control

    I wonder how this looks to the rest of the world...everyone so preoccupied
    with a "n" word?? Should we expand that list of unacceptable words to include,
    the "w" word, the "C" word, the "h' word and on and on. We must look like
    a chicken yard with all the fluttering and clucking while the world is teetering
    at the brink of WWIII. Where are the priorities? And if anyone is so deeply
    injured by a word maybe they have an agenda and when will it end???
    It is lucrative for many to keep the racial divide intact...wonder why??
    What do they have to gain? Money and power. Same song, different verse.

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    Re: Richards (Kramer) hires damage control

    Quote Originally Posted by Ronald
    That's an interesting question. Using your logic, would you also ask what the Jews did to inspire Hitler to commit genocide against them? Or what Tutsis did to merit the Hutus killing them? Or perhaps what the people in WTC did to make those terrorists fly into the building?

    I have an alternative to your logic. How about assigning responsibility to people's own actions?
    That's absolutely absurd, simplistic and presumptuous. My question was almost rhetorical. A person of good faith might have assumed that I meant, "nothing." No harm.

    But I am realistic about human nature and its dark undercurrents, so I was wondering if the hecklers had started with some ignominious slur of their own. I wasn't there, so I don't know. I am merely asking if anyone knew both sides of the exchange. NOT TO SAY that anyone deserves to be spoken to that way; a better person should speak with dignity if they were insulted. I heard with my own ears what Richards said, and I have no doubt he has sick rage. I have a right to ask for facts, so don't attack me.

    Are you saying that I'm saying people deserve to be submitted to abominable treatment?

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    Re: Richards (Kramer) hires damage control

    Quote Originally Posted by Ronald
    That's an interesting question. Using your logic, would you also ask what the Jews did to inspire Hitler to commit genocide against them? Or what Tutsis did to merit the Hutus killing them? Or perhaps what the people in WTC did to make those terrorists fly into the building?

    I have an alternative to your logic. How about assigning responsibility to people's own actions?


    That's absolutely absurd, simplistic and presumptuous. My question was almost rhetorical. A person of good faith might have assumed that I meant, "nothing." No harm.

    But I am realistic about human nature and its dark undercurrents, so I was wondering if the hecklers had started with some ignominious slur of their own. I wasn't there, so I don't know. I am merely asking if anyone knew both sides of the exchange. NOT TO SAY that anyone deserves to be spoken to that way; a better person should speak with dignity if insulted. I heard with my own ears what Richards said, and I have no doubt he has sick rage. I have a right to ask for facts, so don't attack me.

    Are you saying that I'm saying people deserve genocide? How 'bout you come up with better logic and ask for some facts yourself?
    Last edited by Microcosma000; 11-30-2006 at 03:40 AM.

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