Steve Harvey may be looking to enlist the help of scandal fixer Judy Smith to repair his image after a series of controversial and race-based incidents.
Harvey’s team has reportedly been in touch with Smith, according to New York Daily News‘ Confidential, who has been involved with managing crises including those involving ex-Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick and tax-troubled actor Wesley Snipes. Smith’s career is the basis for ABC’s hit series “Scandal,” starring Kerry Washington as Oliva Pope, the fictional version of her.
The “Family Feud” host wants to repair his image after he caught heat for visiting with President Donald Trump Jan. 13 and then faced backlash when he made a racist joke about Asian men on his self-titled talk show that same month. Harvey defended his meeting with Trump on his radio show Jan. 16, saying in part, “I have an obligation to take a seat at the table when invited. Change can only happen when we sit at the table.” The following day, he tweeted an apology for his off-color Asian joke and explained his humor “was not meant with any malice.”
Just a week later, on Jan. 24, Harvey was fighting yet another race-related issue. A former employee, Joseph Cooper, took him to court in Texas over a breach of contract. Radar Online reported that Cooper claimed to have more than 120 hours of 20-year-old footage showing the TV host spouting prejudiced remarks about white people. One clip reportedly shows Harvey encouraging fans to “spit on white people” and to “go assault old white women.” Cooper’s filing led Harvey to counter sue for $5 million, accusing the former worker of extortion.
On Jan. 26, Harvey won the lawsuit by convincing a judge there was no breach of contract with Cooper, according to The Hollywood Reporter. During the trial, the jury heard testimony about the contract at hand, which the judge deemed “ambiguous,” while the tape recordings were not played as they were deemed “irrelevant and unfairly prejudicial.” The jury concluded Cooper didn’t prove by a preponderance of the evidence that Harvey had agreed to a valid contract. Rather than a verdict on the radio hosts’ countersuit, a settlement agreement was read into the record.