A clip of radio veteran Howard Stern wearing blackface and repeatedly using the N-word is making rounds on social media and video-sharing platforms.
The footage was first released on VHS in 1994, as part of Howard Stern’s “New Year’s Rotten Eve” special. Moreover, the 26-year-old video was uploaded to YouTube quite some time ago (the hyperlinked recording, one of multiple clips showing Stern in blackface, was uploaded in 2011), but has recently become the subject of major controversy because of ongoing conversations about race relations.
Howard Stern has already addressed the clip on his show (see below), though his employer, Sirius XM Radio, has not. Sirius was likely aware of the blackface episode before inking its momentous, $500 million-plus deal with Stern back in 2005, especially since multiple blackface (or black-costumed) clips are now surfacing. Currently, Sirius is estimated to be paying $80 million per year for its Howard Stern deal, and the jock is understood to be renegotiating for a new deal that would commence in 2021.
In the clip, Howard Stern portrays Whoopi Goldberg’s former boyfriend Ted Danson, while the late All In the Family and The Jeffersons star Sherman Hemsley plays Goldberg herself. Stern makes a number of off-color jokes – several of which feature the N-word – during the roughly three-minute clip, justifying the cracks by stating that Whoopi wrote them.
The sketch was intended to parody the ill-received remarks Ted Danson made at a Friars Club roast of Whoopi Goldberg earlier in 1993.
Because Danson’s relationship with Goldberg started as an affair and contributed to the former’s divorce, it garnered ample media coverage around the time Stern and Hemsley shot the sketch.
Howard Stern addressed the bit this morning, on his SiriusXM program, emphasizing that he would still lampoon Ted Danson if a similar situation arose today, but wouldn’t do so in the same manner.
The 66-year-old also indicated that he’s changed his life and the way he communicates since shooting the video.
“The sh—t I did was f—king crazy,” Stern stated on his Sirius XM show today. “I’ll be the first to admit. I won’t go back and watch those old shows. It’s like, who is that guy? But that was my shtick, that’s what I did and I own it. I don’t think I got embraced by Nazi groups and hate groups. They seemed to think I was against them too. Everybody had a bone to pick with me.”
The response didn’t calm the backlash, however. At the time of this writing, many social media users were continuing to voice their outrage over the episode and Stern’s response. Stern last posted on his personal Twitter account 12 days back.