[UPDATE with Earlier Apology Retracted] Katt Williams in Phoenix: "If You Love Mexico, Bitch, Get the Fuck Over There!"
|He's back, alright|
The comedian went on to claim that the heckler started the back-and-forth by saying "F America," although that can't be heard on the video of the onstage rant and certainly not before Williams made his comments about Mexicans not fighting for California hard enough. He then followed by saying "I don't think I have to apologize for being pro-American."
As I commented earlier on this story, I'll let folks rank 'putting down
landscapers' on the list of all-time defenses of the nation-state!
Williams continued on in the interview saying he can't apologize as a
stand-up for uncensored thought. "I'm not allowed to then come back the
next day and apologize. That's for the Tracy Morgan's of the world. I
meant what I said and said what I meant," before adding, "I'm
apologizing if somebody thought I was trying to be anti-Mexican.
Mexicans are my friends!"
"My remarks were not meant to be offensive," Williams said. "I want to apologize if my comedy act was taken out of context."
"I sincerely appreciate my fans within the Mexican community and would never intentionally go out of my way to offend them," he added.
Either way, I'm really missing Dave Chappelle these days.
UPDATE, Aug. 31 4:22 P.M.: Presente.org, a national Latino advocacy group with solid politics, has stepped into the Katt Williams fall-out fray. They've issued a petition to have the comedian issue an apology for his rant in Phoenix, Arizona last week.
Signatures will be delivered to Williams' booking agent, Chris Smith of International Creative Management. The petition letter, in part, reads:
Your anti-Mexican rants on Saturday in Phoenix, Arizona, crossed the line from comedy into xenophobia. Hateful and dehumanizing talk about Mexicans and Latinos is unacceptable, particularly in Arizona, where Latinos are regularly racially profiled, insulted, beaten and even killed.Katt Williams' recent string of stand-up appearances haven't been off to a good start. His official YouTube channel also uploaded the video of his Phoenix fail, so who knows if he's really the apologizing type. But I do know this, if there's no "I'm Sorry" then there will be a call for a boycott of his shows. And since his schtick is 'pimpin,'" ain't nothing worse than a broke pimp!
Your comments also inflame tensions between the African-American and Latino communities. This is tension we don't need at a time when our communities are disproportionately suffering from this economic recession and face large injustices in all areas from education, to health, to incarceration.
ORIGINAL POST, Aug. 29 5 P.M.: Comedian Katt Williams
finds himself embroiled in controversy after going on an onstage rant
last week on the subject of Mexicans. As the YouTube video of the
incident makes the Internet rounds, his first mistake was performing in
Phoenix, Arizona in the first place.
Unlike fellow comedian Chris Rock, Williams is apparently no adherent to the Sound Strike that arose after the passage of anti-immigrant legislation in the state. At a point during his set, he launched into a tirade offering a glimpse into why that might have been the case.
Things started innocently enough with Williams saying in regards to
Mexicans, "It appears to me y'all like it over here a lot," feeling like
a humorous reference to the demographics of immigration, but then things,
inexplicably got ugly. "If y'all had California, and you loved it, you
shouldn't have gave that motherfucker up! You should have fought for
California, goddamn it! Since you loved it." The tone was patronizing and moved beyond the
bounds of comedy into that of a rant as Williams continued on.
At one point, a Mexican audience member close to the circular stage stood up and said "This is
Mexico, motherfucker!" Williams came back around and stomped his foot
chanting "U-S-A!" doing his best impersonation of Hacksaw Jim Duggan. The
man in the audience pounded his chest saying "This is my hood!" before
being retorted by the comedian once more.
For the next four minutes of the routine, Williams remained fixated on the standoff, taking issue with Mexicans living in the United States who have an affinity for their homeland, before breaking into a rendition of the national anthem. *Quick historical footnote: "The Star Spangled Banner" was written by Francis Scott Key, a slave owner, and in the perpetually omitted third verse, he writes,"No refuge could save the hireling and slave / From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave."
And the subject of slavery indeed came up in the course of the rant. Williams, who was involved in fight at a Young Jeezy concert that same week, said "Fuck, we were slaves, bitch! Y'all just work like that at the landscapers, motherfucker," as the crowd erupted in applause. "It's not even racial, you're a bitch!" he added as if misogyny was some sort of solvent. The Tucson Citizen called the sad ordeal as one "sure to bring him some new TEA Party fans." Black and brown folks have taken to YouTube to record commentaries disappointed in his actions as the Sound Strike issued a five-point statement offering, in part, an informed historical perspective.Meanwhile, the website for the comedian asks at the bottom in a self-referential manner "Will Katt ever do stand-up again?" referring to his past disappearance from the stage. Now that he's back, others are now asking for an apology.
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