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Al Sharpton to TMZ: "Roboho" a Big No-No

7/10/2007 1:25 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

Al SharptonNational Action Network President Al Sharpton has set his sights on over the word "Roboho" in a fashion piece that was published two weeks ago:

"Calling any woman a "ho" is demeaning and abusive and it should not be tolerated on any level. It is intolerable to think that would find humor in calling Beyonce -- someone who symbolizes the strength, dignity and uplifting of Black women -- a "Roboho," and they should be denounced by the entire community for glorifying the continued oppression of women with this derogatory term. Racism in America is perpetuated by ignorance and hate and using one's airwaves or media entity to promote it is a blatant setback to civil rights and the advancement of equality.

Al sharpton -- click to launch Harvey Levin -- click to play
National Action Network has been in the forefront of protesting the word "ho" and will hold a 20-city tour featuring 100 women in each market on August 7th to protest the use of the word "ho" as well as the "N" and "B" words. We encourage to retract their misogynistic labeling of Beyonce and apologize immediately."

TMZ's Response:

In response to your statement questioning TMZ's use of the term "roboho" in our BET Awards fashion story, please note that we called Beyonce's performance outfit a "roboho" not Ms. Knowles herself. There is a difference. As to accusations that our comment was racially motivated, TMZ has humorously called into question many celebs for wearing racy outfits -- regardless of their race. We've called Lindsay Lohan's trashy ensemble a "HO-rror" and even gave Kid Rock a humorous "ho" reference in a December 2006 story. Isn't the context in which a word is used almost as important, if not more so, than the actual word? While others may have used the term with maliciousness -- we clearly did not. It was a humor piece -- as all of our fashion roundup stories are.

TMZ appreciates your feedback, Rev. Sharpton, and the dialogue it has opened, but it is clear that the only thing more subjective than what is fashionable, is what one finds funny.

Britney: Taco Belle

Britney SpearsWearing an athletic tee that says "NO PUSHOVER," and apparently NO BRA, a brown-haired Brit-Brit resisted the siren call of the chalupa at a recent gas station bathroom break.

The toxic fashion disaster singer was spotted making a pit stop in Malibu while a mystery man/friend waited in her idling Mercedes. Britney had time to secure a new crapariffic ammo belt from a local military surplus store.

After checking her Cher-weave, Miss Thing skipped a run for the border. When ya gotta go, ya'll gotta go!

Trashy Brit -- click to launch

Nicole Richie in Deep

The Commissioner in the Nicole Richie DUI case did not grant the continuance Nicole Richie wanted. Period.
Nicole Richie and Joel Madden
As TMZ first reported, Richie's lawyer asked for a continuance until August 5th, because her expert witness, Dr. Terence McGee, was not available to testify then. Commissioner Steven Lubell was visibly upset and ordered both Nicole's lawyer, Shawn Chapman Holley, and the prosecutor into chambers. When the Commissioner came out, he said he would not rule on the continuance and ordered all parties into court tomorrow morning at 8:30 AM -- that's when the trial is scheduled to begin.

Nicole Richie -- click to launchSeems like Nicole is in a pickle. She flew to Calgary last night with baby daddy Joel Madden, who is performing a gig in the Great White North. Will Nicole bail on the concert and come back to face the Commish?

We'll let you know!

The Next Paris Hilton?

Paris Hilton: Click to watchPrepare to be creeped out -- Paris Hilton's biggest fan is a tiny 4-year-old girl.

Showing off posing skills eerily similar to those of her ex-con/socialite hero, a precocious little gal from Florida waited outside Hilton's home last night for the chance to meet the star of "One Night in Paris" and "Bottoms Up." Don't these kids have bedtimes anymore?!

When Paris emerged, the heiress worked it for the cameras with the little one right by her side -- though it's clear the younger of the two has a lot to learn about handling flashbulbs!


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Rev. Al generally makes sense, but I think he missed the ball on this one.

I don't think TMZ's decription was about race. It had more to do with her outfit than anything.

As far as Beyonce 'signifying the strength, dignity, and uplifting of black women,' I wouldn't put BEYONCE in the same category as HARRIET TUBMAN or ROSA PARKS. Those two women unflinchingly risked their lives to uplift black people from slavery and segregation, and carried themselves with strength and dignity. All Beyonce does is sing horribly, and wear short skirts (sometimes with no underwear), shaking her ass on stage!

Maureen, you're right. I used to work with a group of young women who dressed as if they were going to walk the streets. Our office building was in a seedy area, so they would have to go through the gauntlet of catcalls from homeless men and construction workers on the way up. By the time they got up to the office, they would have to deal with "sexual harrasment," or "yucky" male coworkers asking them out, on top of everything. Not justifying the men's behavior, but if you dress like a prostitute in public, you will, on some level, be treated like one.

I disagree that Beyonce could take a joke. Most beautiful women aren't good at being the butt of a joke.

2664 days ago


It is wrong to call women Ho's, there is no justification of calling an outfit a Ho, it is not possible! I agree 100% with Rev. Al. I am so tired of the crap! People think they can say anything they want, to different races, women, men and children. There are no morales or values being practiced, no tact. When my son was 5years old he used to say out loud "Mommy look at that fat man" or "she looks ugly", and I had to teach him it was inappropriate to say things like that, it may hurt someone's feelings. And later in life if he did not know it was improper someone may hurt him physically or emotionally. It is wrong people!!!!! You need to address improper language, dress and behavior from all. It is not acceptable!!! And Rev Al has the guts to speak and say it's wrong, who else will make a stand?????

2664 days ago


Has TMZ ever used "ho" in reference to any outfit or action by Brittney, Madonna or Jessica? Beyonce has never acted in an unladylike manner in public unlike Lindsay Lohan or Brittney Spears; however TMZ found it necessary even with an abundance of words at their disposal they used the word "ho", to describe Beyonce. Their action was racist and Al Sharpton was just saying allowed what most people were thinking.

2664 days ago



2664 days ago

vincent cotter    

Sharpton has lost all credibility and respect in my book. He wants to be the speech cop policing free speech. Frankly, I am tired of him playing the "race" card....what he's doing is actually reverse discrimination.

2664 days ago


Has TMZ ever used "ho" in reference to any outfit or action by Brittney, Madonna or Jessica? Beyonce has never acted in an unladylike manner in public unlike Lindsay Lohan or Brittney Spears; however TMZ found it necessary even with an abundance of words at their disposal they used the word "ho", to describe Beyonce. Their action was racist and Al Sharpton was just saying allowed what most people were thinking.

2664 days ago

Gary D.    

I just luvs stirrin up trouble when I'm not busy doing what I do best. My specialty is professional LAWN JOCKEY , although I do get tired of holding that damn lamp !

2664 days ago


Sharpton is just a grumpy, old man that obviously needs something else to b*tch about. In my opinion, he's starting to sound alot like Jerry Falwell!!!

2664 days ago

Al the white people didn't invent the word ho!!!    

First of all, Al your a man, and I use that term loosely, that tries to make money talking about the whites being racist, but you are the biggest racist on the planet. You never come to the aid of a white girl who was attacked or raped by a black man. The black community would be much better off with you and Jessie Jackson finding a job where you would have to pay taxes and stop stirring up all this racist hate. It's not my fault the Strom Thurman owned some of your family once. I personly have never owned anyone, nor do I wish to.

You think ho is offensive, talk to your rap brothers. The correct pronunciation and spelling is whore, not ho. You know what Al, your acting just like a little bitchy whore and that's because you are one!!!!!!!!!! CRY BABY.....

2664 days ago


Sharpton is 'outraged' and I am outraged that he has got by so long without gainful employment. In this politically correct clime, as a member of a protected species, he can yammer at length about the ghastly inequities visited upon his people in general. Nothing is too trivial to inspire one of his tiresome diatribes. In the olden days, he would have given a press conference unattended by media who used to report on valid topics.
When you remember he rode into the public eye (and his livelihood) via the bogus claim of a racially motivated police attack reported by a dog-feces smeared juvenile delinquent trying to hide her overnight tryst with a convict boyfriend, (DNA, where were you when we needed you?) it is hard to contend that 'crime doesn't pay.'

2664 days ago


Pulling the racism card is getting old.

2664 days ago


The word "ho" can be percieved in many different ways. Beyonce is a grown woman and can wear whatever she wishes. It is not anybodies right to call her a ho. if you don't like it, then say your peace, and shut up. Ego is a large problem. Her clothes were not ho clothes. Infact, what are ho clothes? Has anybody made a line for ho clothes? Not that I know of. Everybody has a different opinion. Thats what helps keep this world together. Does the reverand need to back off? Yes, just a bit. Things like this happen all the time, and always have. Authors ofthen incorperate their own opinion, giving the public something to talk about, as it is doing now. He could be spending more time being angry at the way rappers and singers of all kinds of music portray people, animals, etc. in their music than "defending" Beyonce from being called a ho, even though, as it came through to me, the article was not calling her a ho, but the clothing. Again, this comes to a matter of opinion, not fact, what is right and wrong. People who do not actually want to help, but just want to make it seem that way tend to find something non major and stick to it, making a big deal, whn the major things need to have a big deal made of. The reverand needs to remember, people can and will think for themselves. Not everybody is ok with it, or agrees, or maybe they do. It is not always up to a single person to decide right from wrong. This also fits into the racist problems. The "N" word is used with all colors of humans, no matter their class. So, can you actually say that this word is being used as an insult? A woman of her status probably pays no mind to these things. Shwe is above being hurt over a word, that has been used aganist/for other people in the world, it was not an attack on this specific person.

2664 days ago


I think Beyonce's outfit looks like Dumbo! Whatever those things are on the sides look like giant elephant ears.

2664 days ago

Marty Gagen    

Al, when you & the other A-- apologize to the DUKE BOY'S, I'll consider not using the term HO'S

2664 days ago


Al Sharpton needs to get HOver it already!! Hes the biggest rasist there is!!!!!

2664 days ago
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