Michael Richards Chases Healing
By James L. Hirsen, J.D., Ph.D.
Michael Richards On Way to Fake Court?
After Michael Richards hurled the "n"-word at African-Americans he felt were heckling him during his comedy act, entertainment experts started speculating about whether his appalling outburst would be a career ender.
Richards then apologized for the hateful and hurtful words while on the "Late Night with David Letterman" show. But in his remorseful appearance, perhaps thinking he'd make nice with the Hollywood left, the former "Seinfeld" star also tried to use Hurricane Katrina as an excuse.
When apparently neither Oprah nor Dr. Phil were immediately available, Richards' next step was to seek absolution from the Reverend Jesse Jackson.
Richards appeared on Jackson's nationally syndicated "Keep Hope Alive" radio program as part of what is shaping up to be an extended apology tour.
He said that he knew his comments hurt the black community and hoped to meet with the two men to whom he had directed the epithets. He also told Jackson that he had not used the language before.
"That's why I'm shattered by it. The way this came through me was like a freight train. After it was over, when I went to look for them, they had gone. And I've tried to meet them, to talk to them, to get some healing," Richards said.
Prior to the show, Jackson had called Richards' words "hateful," "sick," and "deep-seated."
Jackson now says that the comic's inclusion on his radio show is a chance for a broader discussion about "cultural isolation" in the entertainment industry.
In deference to another established civil rights leader, Richards also apologized to Rev. Al Sharpton.
Richards' publicist, Howard Rubenstein, said that his client has begun psychiatric counseling in Los Angeles to learn how to manage his anger.
In another twist in the Richards story, Gloria Allred, who routinely manages to attach herself to highly publicized news stories, has come up with a creative way to obtain some monetary compensation for the two men who were directly insulted by Michael Richards' racist bout.
In reality, there are no genuine lawsuit possibilities raised by the facts surrounding the Richards "case." But in the courtroom of cable media, Allred is insisting that Cosmo Kramer's alter ego appear with her clients Frank McBride and Kyle Doss in front of a retired judge so that the comedian can apologize and allow the judge to decide on the proper remuneration.
Concerning her clients, Allred claims that Richards "went after them," "singled them out," "taunted them" and "did it in a closed room where they were captive."
Personally, the way I see it, the folks held captive in most of today's comedy clubs deserve some big bucks.
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James L. Hirsen, J.D., Ph.D.
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