This is a list of public figures and celebrities who have been caught being racist. The following famous people landed in hot water after making a racial or anti-Semitic slur, posted a stereotypical photo, or Tweeted negative comments about a race other than their own.
The gallery below doesn't necessarily include racist celebs or notorious bigots, but mostly well-known stars of film, TV, and sports who have caused controversy because they didn't use a filter to prevent themselves from offending other people. Whether they were joking or not at the time, there is nothing funny about the hurtful words, offensive pictures, or tasteless Twitter posts that almost cost these celebs their careers. For some, like former leading man and acclaimed filmmaker Mel Gibson or culinary legend Paula Deen, making racist remarks has truly ruined their reputation.
Racism is a huge problem all over the world and in the U.S. – race relations, discrimination, and racial stereotypes are constantly hot topics of conversation. Hate crimes are increasing, and just because words can't physically hurt another human being, the pain inflicted on someone with a hateful racist remark and slurs can often be worse.
Most of the public figures and celebs in the quotes gallery below are stars who were caught being racist and have either said something racist on stage like comedian Michael Richards, made a crude racial remark in an interview like singer and songwriter John Mayer, were caught on tape in an angry voicemail like Charlie Sheen, or posted an offensive photo on Twitter, like pop stars Rihanna and Miley Cyrus. Almost everyone of these celebrities, actors, and athletes, like football player Riley Cooper and boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr., have issued some sort of apology for what they said, but the public doesn't easily forget.
While they aren't necessarily racists, these Hollywood people, celebrity athletes, and famous musicians have all been caught saying offensive statements.
LMAO REMEMBER WHEN YOU MADE MY FIRST TELEVISION GIG A LIVING HELL?!?! CAUSE I'LL NEVER FORGET. I BELIEVE YOU TOLD EVERYONE THAT IF YOU HAD THE OPPORTUNITY YOU WOULD "SH*T IN MY WIG!" AMONGST OTHER TRAUMATIC MICROAGRESSIONS THAT MADE ME QUESTION A CAREER IN HOLLYWOOD..."
Michele didn't mention Ware by name, but apologized days later saying:
One of the most important lessons of the last few weeks is that we need to take the time to listen and learn about other people’s perspectives and any role we have played or anything we can do to help address the injustices that they face. When I tweeted the other day, it was meant to be a show of support for our friends and neighbors and communities of color during this really difficult time, but the responses I received to what I posted have made me also focus specifically on how my own behavior towards fellow cast members was perceived by them.
While I don’t remember ever making this specific statement and I have never judged others by their background or color of their skin, that’s not really the point. What matters is that I clearly acted in ways which hurt other people. Whether it was my privileged position and perspective that caused me to be perceived as insensitive or inappropriate at times or whether it was just my immaturity and me just being unnecessarily difficult, I apologize for my behavior and for any pain which I have caused.
- Age: 29
- Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States of America
In March 2019, radio recordings of Fox News host Tucker Carlson targeting immigrants, the Iraqi nation, and the Obamas resurfaced. The recordings are from an interview with the radio host "Bubba the Love Sponge," and aired between 2006 and 2011. According to Business Insider, Media Matters published the tapes and called for an apology from Carlson, which he refused to give citing "the left's main goal" to "control what you think" as the problem.
Carlson's remarks on immigrants claim, "There's some really good, I mean, immigrants. I just think it's, you know, people who come to this country ought to have something to offer. Be hot, be really smart, you know what I mean?"
When discussing his view's on the Iraq war he said, "I hate the war. You know, I'm not defending [it] in any way, but I just have zero sympathy for [the people of Iraq] or their culture. A culture where people just don't use toilet paper or forks. They can just shut the f*ck up and obey, is my view...
Iraq is a crappy place filled with a bunch of, you know, semiliterate primitive monkeys - that's why it wasn't worth invading."
Carlson expressed displeasure with Michelle Obama as "a public figure" because "you just get the feeling she's got a major chip on her shoulder... [She] turns into a 'sister.'"
Advertisers like CareerBuilder, Red Lobster, and SmileDirectClub have pulled away from Carlson's Fox News program as a result.
- Age: 51
- Birthplace: California, United States of America
In a promotional interview with The Independent for the 2019 film, Cold Pursuit, Liam Neeson admitted that he once "roamed the streets" in pursuit of the "Black b*stard" who assulted someone very close to him, even though he had no idea who the man actually was.
Neeson laments, "It was horrible, horrible, when I think back, that I did that. And I’ve never admitted that, and I’m saying it to a journalist. God forbid."
- Age: 68
- Birthplace: Ballymena, United Kingdom
On May 29, 2018, Roseanne Barr posted a racist tweet about Valerie Jarrett, a Black woman who worked for President Obama's administration as a top adviser. In the tweet, Barr said that if "muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj." Twitter users were outraged, and hours later, her peers and employers started taking action.
Wanda Sykes, a consulting producer on Roseanne, announced her resignation from the show on Twitter. ABC canceled Roseanne, with the entertainment president of ABC, Channing Dungey, saying "Roseanne's Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant, and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show."
Her representation, ICM Partners, also dropped her due to her insensitive online comment:
We are all greatly distressed by the disgraceful and unacceptable tweet from Roseanne Barr this morning. What she wrote is antithetical to our core values, both as individuals and as an agency. Consequently, we have notified her that we will not represent her. Effective immediately, Roseanne Barr is no longer a client.
- Age: 67
- Birthplace: Salt Lake City, Utah, United States of America