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Richards Reaches Out To Civil Rights Leaders

11/22/2006 3:29 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF

Jesse Jackson, Michael Richards, Al SharptonTMZ has learned that Michael Richards is reaching out to civil rights leaders, asking for forgiveness.

Uber-publicist Howard Rubenstein, who was hired just today by the "Seinfeld" star, tells TMZ that Richards was on the phone today with Rev. Jesse Jackson and Rev. Al Sharpton, apologizing for his racial rant last Friday at L.A.'s Laugh Factory -- a rant captured on video and first shown on TMZ.

Rubenstein says Richards has made other phone calls today as well, expressing regret for his comments. Rubenstein says, "He's appalled at what he did and wants to start the healing process." Rubenstein adds, "Whether it be an attack on any racial group -- disguised or posed as humor -- he acknowledges it's horrible and wrong and he will never do that again."

Rubenstein says the calls were received "positively." Sharpton, however, stated publicly that he did not buy Richards' apology on "Letterman."

194 COMMENTS

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16.

Tee    

First of all, to think that Jesse Jackson or Rev Al , could speak for me or any other Afican American is ludicris. They cannot accept the apology of, nor forgive Michael Richards for what I felt were his heartfelt comments in the name of the Black community. Me personally, in time, I will forgive him, but I will not forget what he said. I will not support anything that he is associated with nor will I watch Seinfield anymore. As for his "apology" on David Letterman, that was the most insincere thing I've every heard. Oh, I believe that he is really and truly sorry for what he said...sorry that he let his true racist face show.

2859 days ago
17.

Elliot Woods    

Have you ever had one of those auditions or a job interview when the person doing the hiring asks you a question and you said something that – as it was coming out of your mouth - you wish(ed) you could take it back because it was soooooooo stupid? Where you KNEW it was stupid WHILE you were saying it, but couldn’t stop the words from flowing? I honestly think that Michael Richards experienced that to the 50th power. I think he started down a path that his subconscious led him to believe MIGHT be funny and, more importantly, allow him to regain control of his show (audition/job interview), which he’d lost due to NOT being funny and therefore, like anybody else, he got heckled by the crowd that wanted to be entertained.

The pressure of being already famous… already having had a top-rated TV Series… yet being reduced to being ANOTHER out-of-work actor… again… led him to try something new and fresh in the hopes of regaining what he’d already tasted - success. He wasn’t ready for stand-up… because he’d lost that “edge” you have when you’re making your initial climb to your goal. He wasn’t prepared for ‘heckling’ because the last 10 – 15 years of his life has been about being and feeling “loved”, for lack of a better expression, by ALL of AMERICA. Imagine that… loved. The insane amount of money, fame, everybody wants to be in your good graces or be your friend because you’re “that guy”.

Has he ever had racist thoughts? Clearly. Has he ever acted them out before? Not according to his friends and peers. Is he the only one of us that has ever had racist thoughts? Absolutely and definitively not… but most of us either don’t express those thoughts out loud OR if they ARE expressed, it is within the comfort and confines of those who we know that love, support and/or identify with ‘us’.

But Michael Richards had the misfortune of already being famous and being unprepared to RE-struggle for “success” and he had a severe meltdown that he couldn’t pull himself out of -- and he had it in front of an audience… in front of a camera when the river of ‘love’ not only stopped, but began flowing the other way. Temporary insanity? Nope… more like a tutorial in what NOT to do when one has lost confidence in the very ‘creativity’ that has delivered MAJOR success before.

So now, he’ll be remembered for being loved by everyone for being one character for over a decade AND also for being the absolute worst character possible for approximately 15 minutes, in front of an audience, in front of a camera, when the ‘love’ stopped flowing and he was left standing there, alone, wanting and wishing for the ‘love’ to come back. I believe that he wanted to stop those words, but that he couldn’t turn off the faucet of frustration because he isn’t “that guy” anymore.

That’s what I think.

D. ELLIOT WOODS

2859 days ago
18.

jfp    

Don't care.

2859 days ago
19.

Lou    

#4 Mohamad STFU you ignorant asswipe. Michael just forget it -- don't grovel to those two pictured jerks. Come on! Jesse Jackson who has his own skeletons, including out-of-wedlock babes, and Al Sharpton? These two are the most unforgiving "preachers" of the highest magnitude. They cast stones at everyone else, yet lead un-preacher-like lives of their own.

2859 days ago
20.

caveman    

hey kramer, just stroke that fat hipocrite sharpton a check and let jesse spit in your food and we'll call you even-steven and you can be master of your domain again...get laid or something, too much money to be that angry.

i can't believe these two idiots are still "black leaders"...what OJ's busy?

2859 days ago
21.

Mud    

Let the man be. He made a mistake and he's trying to overcome it. Although I've lost some respect for Michael Richards, he seems sincere in his apology and perhaps some good can come out of this whole situation and solve some of the problems our country has. Everyone involved in this needs to look in the mirror at themselves, the hecklers aren't exactly saints thru this whole thing themselves. I fail to see how a word that more than likely these black hecklers have called each other now hurts them so much when a white man hurls it at them. They added fuel to a fire already out of control and now actually have the audacity to think they deserve monetary compensation for their "pain". If that's the case, there's alot of people who I'll be taking to court.

2859 days ago
22.

She_Wolf    

Hello,

Is there some other way that I can add my comments WITHOUT having to resort to going back and forth in my silly email in order to "activate" my posts all the time?

Thank you! :)

2859 days ago
23.

Miami Girl    

OMG, would you people like for him to prove how sorry he is and maybe commit suicide? He made a comment about another race, SO WHAT! Everyone does! He said he is sorry, move on. Im with Jim Crow....excellent comment about Good Times.

2859 days ago
24.

She_Wolf    

Hello,

Is there some other way that I can add my comments WITHOUT having to resort to going back and forth in my silly email in order to "activate" my posts all the time?

Thank you! :)

2859 days ago
25.

Claire    

His already dead career is beyond over now. Nothing he can do, he's wasting his time. I don't care how mad you are a someone, you don't say such things unless you truly feel it.

2859 days ago
26.

Houstonian    

Of course the victims are still hurting - they are not considering accepting his apology (first step towards healing). I don't trust anyone who said his apology wasn't authentic enough, I saw the tape, he was a broken man. And I hope that feeling sticks with him so that he never does that again. And I do hope that he does some soul searching and reaches out to the greater community because of this situation.But if these patrons milk this any further, they are after money / their fifteen minutes of fame. This county has more problems than we did in 94/95 when the OJ trial split us down the middle. Don't let one man's words convince you to sell your soul for racial divide. We need to be united - FOCUS.

2859 days ago
27.

coco puff    

#19 Miami Girl, suicide would be a nice start. He could hang himself and the brothers in the audience could stick forks up his racist ass. Your are such a racist, bigot, get a life.

2859 days ago
28.

F***! Kramer    

And 60 years ago he would have been in an ashtray!...

Do White people honestly think this is about the N-Word???
The word Nigger is word that, when used by someone other than a Black person, is symbolic and indicative of every atrocity pepetuated by Whites against people of color. Truthfully, the real crime is how he used LYNCHING in his attack. That rhetoric, and the fact that it is conveniently over looked, is a million times more inflammatory, and comparable to one disrespecting the millions that lost their lives during the Holocaust (see opening statement).
I hope White Amerikkka is ready for the next phase in the evolution of a people that, despite the best efforts of the media to say otherwise, is more educated, assimilated, financially sound, and poised for socio-political upheaval (non-violent or OTHERWISE!) than the generation before us...

2859 days ago
29.

Ian    

I really don't get this part. I mean, who the hell does Richards think he is, calling-up important political people in the black community, as if he were some "major figure" who merits the summoning of "powerful leaders" and "great minds" to address *his* brand of two-bit, has-been racism? Mel Gibson? Yeah, maybe.

But a sidekick on a 90s sitcom?

I mean, if the president had made even a minor gaffe about blacks, I could see the president calling-up black leaders to start the "process of healing" and clarification. But THIS wingnut?

This is pretty much the same as if Suzanne Somers said something really nasty about French people during a QVC sell-a-thon, and then felt the need to summon "all world leaders of the great nations" around herself to "begin the healing process"... because she's such an influential personage.

For crying out loud, Richards is a past-it sitcom actor who once had his long moment in the sun. He's nobody earth-shaking in the scheme of things. Let the bastard leave Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton alone and go see a friggin' therapist for his hatred "issues."

Why would any prominent black leader even take this has-been's CALLS and discuss this shit with him on a national level? They should advise their secretaries that they have more important people to deal with.

2859 days ago
30.

Miami Girl    

I'm not a racist bigot. I'm real. Brothers call each other the "N" word all the time. Don't be a hypocrite! Set an example and maybe some comedian wouldn't use that word against you. I am an American by birth with a cornucopia of backgrounds running through my veins. It is my constitutional right to have an opinion.

By hanging himself and letting "brothers stick forks up his ass", aren't you promoting what most african americans have fought against for so many years? Take a look within yourself, BROTHER, and learn to forgive. If he is a racist shit, then feel sorry for him that he won't ever know what its like to love and accept everyone equally. Don't fight against the very priciples you are trying stand up for.

2859 days ago
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