Shock Jock Howard Stern is the latest celebrity to find himself in hot water over past racially insensitive behavior. This week, old videos and photos have resurfaced of sketches performed on Stern’s show back in the 1990s, and they feature Stern in blackface and repeated use of the N-word.
In one of the sketches, Stern’s sidekick Robin Quivers interviews the Sirius XM host while he is dressed up as Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Stern is wearing blackface, a prosthetic nose and lips, and an Afro wig in the sketch.
— Destiny Chloe (@Destiny36501) June 12, 2020
There are three other examples of Stern wearing dark makeup, and two of them include Stern using the N-word, which is something he has denied doing. This was pointed out in a YouTube video that featured Stern doing a minstrel-style show during a 1993 New Year’s Eve special next to Stern’s 2019 interview on The View with co-host Sunny Hostin.
Hostin tells Stern that she is offended by his use of the N-word on his FM radio show The Howard Stern Show, which ran in New York on WXRK between 1986 and 2005.
“I didn’t use the N-word, let’s be very clear,” Stern tells Hostin in the clip before it cuts to the 1993 New Year’s Eve clip. The video also features various times Stern used the racial slur on his radio show.
For a little context, Stern’s 1993 clip was a parody of Ted Danson’s infamous blackface performance that he did that year with his then-girlfriend, Whoopi Goldberg. Stern was telling racist jokes while mimicking Danson and the late Sherman Hemsley was in costume as Goldberg.
As these clips made their way through social media, fans voiced their disgust over Stern’s past behavior, as well as his hypocrisy.
“Wow. I knew that @howardstern was a pig, but this is so blatantly disgusting. I’ve never seen this before. I hope people will retweet this far and wide and expose him and his own hypocrisy. Howard Stern is a #racist,” wrote a disappointed Twitter user.
Others weren’t so hard on Howard Stern, with one fan writing that the sketch was in poor taste, but he was simply imitating someone else and context matters.
“Although this is in poor taste, he’s imitating someone that did that. Context matters. Still, this is s–t-tons racist and inappropriate… but it’s Howard Stern doing a racist bit. It’s not Howard Stern being racist. (See also: Jimmy Fallon, Robert Downey, Jimmy Kimmel),” wrote a fan.