Michael Richards (Kramer)
Comedian Michael Richards rose to fame playing the quirky neighbor Kramer on the legendary sitcom “Seinfeld.” But in November 2006, Richards shocked many fans when he was caught on tape hurling the N-word at Black audience members who taunted him during his standup routine at the Laugh Factory in Hollywood.
Arguably more offensive than his use of the slur was his allusion to the systemic violence Black Americans experienced during segregation. “Fifty years ago we’d have you upside down with a f***ing fork up your a**,” Richards told the men.
Richards later issued a rambling, awkward and somewhat self-pitying apology on “The Late Show.”
“I’m really busted up over this,” he said, before adding the well-worn refrain, “I’m not a racist, that’s what’s so insane about this.”
He continued with another classic not-quite-apology statement: “I’m sorry that it happened.” He blamed his racially charged outburst on mental health issues.