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Michael Richards apologizes on Jesse Jackson's show

November 27, 2006|From the Associated Press

NEW YORK — Comedian Michael Richards said Sunday that he did not consider himself a racist and that he was "shattered" by the comments he made to two young black men during a tirade last week at the Laugh Factory in West Hollywood.

Richards appeared on the Rev. Jesse Jackson's nationally syndicated radio program, "Keep Hope Alive," as a part of a series of apologies for the incident. He said he knew his comments hurt the black community and hoped to meet with the men. He 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," he said.

Richards, who played Jerry Seinfeld's wacky neighbor Kramer on the TV sitcom "Seinfeld," lashed out at hecklers during his performance, using a string of racial obscenities and profane language. A cellphone video camera captured the outburst.

Richards told Jackson the tirade was fueled by anger, not bigotry. He said he wanted to hurt those who had hurt him: "I was in a place of humiliation."

Jackson, who has called Richards' words "hateful," said the comedian's inclusion on the show was a chance for a broader discussion about "cultural isolation" in the entertainment industry. "We might turn this minus into a plus," Jackson said.

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