Howard Stern Addresses '90s Video Of Him In Blackface Saying Racial Slurs

Howard Stern on The Howard Stern Show

Howard Stern has had more than a few controversial moments during his career, and it would seem that one has come back into the public eye. Recently, footage resurfaced from a 1993 performance during which Stern wore blackface and used racial slurs. Now, the radio host has addressed the footage, acknowledging that his career has been extremely crazy and that he’s made some negative choices along the way:

The shit I did was fucking crazy. ’ll be the first to admit. I won’t go back and watch those old shows; it’s like, who is that guy. But that was my shtick, that’s what I did and I own it. I don’t think I got embraced by Nazi groups and hate groups. They seemed to think I was against them too. Everybody had a bone to pick with me. It was something in me, a drive you wouldn’t believe. As a young man, I wanted to succeed on the radio and I wanted to go fucking crazy. Emotionally it was costing me a lot. The FCC was after me, the right wing was after me, I had the Ku Klux Klan after me, threatening my life. All kinds of crazy stories. I could do 17 movies on my life, how crazy it was. I was fined millions of dollars by the federal government, for sex. Not for race, because if you talked about race, they never cared.

Howard Stern broke down the footage and his actions Monday morning on his Sirius XM show (via Deadline). The longtime shock jock would go on to say that while he completely owns what he’s done in the past, he has since evolved.

The footage in question was from a New Year’s Eve pay-per-view special from 1993. In it, Stern parodies Ted Danson’s blackface performance during a Friars Club roast of his then-girlfriend Whoopi Goldberg. In the sketch, Howard Stern plays the role of Ted Danson, while Sherman Hemsley plays Whoopi Goldberg.

As hard as it may be to believe, Howard Stern isn’t the only celebrity to recently run into trouble for performing in blackface. Jimmy Fallon was recently called out for appearing in blackface on an episode of Saturday Night Live while he was still a cast member. The talk show host has since acknowledged his actions and apologized for them.

The BBC’s Little Britain, a sketch comedy show that ran during the 2000s, has also been in the headlines due to some of its actors appearing in blackface in certain sketches. As a result, both Netflix and the BBC have pulled the series from streaming. The show’s creators have also apologized for these creative choices.

All of the controversies arrive as many around the globe call for social justice and seek to combat systemic racism following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who was killed after a police officer pressed his knee against his neck for nearly nine minutes.

Howard Stern’s actions (along with those of his peers) represent a practice that has been heavily discouraged in recent years, and Hollywood will more than likely continue to look down on blackface as time goes on.

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Erik Swann
Senior Content Producer

Covering superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. I eat more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.