Racist tweets that landed celebs in hot water
You’d assume high-profile celebs would think twice before posting racially charged messages on social media and sending questionable statements out into the Twitterverse. Or, at least, that they would have a team who would flag their inappropriate comments and teach them what not to do, but that’s apparently not the case for many stars.
In the past few years alone, the number of A-listers who have posted eyebrow-raising tweets has been unbelievable. While some have momentarily landed in hot water because of their opinions and “jokes,” others have had to deal with longer-lasting consequences — like losing their careers entirely. A prime example of this is comedian and sitcom star Roseanne Barr whose show was pulled off the air in 2018 following a tweet she made about White House adviser Valerie Jarrett. And Barr is certainly not alone. Here are some stars who should definitely have thought twice before they tweeted.
Perhaps no celebrity’s career was as swiftly and completely derailed by a racist tweet as Roseanne Barr’s. The ’80s TV star was riding high with her immensely popular Roseanne reboot, but that came to a crashing halt when she went on a bizarre rant in 2018, slamming former President Barack Obama’s White House adviser Valerie Jarrett.
Responding to a tweet that read, “Obama’s CIA also spied on French presidential candidates,” Barr tweeted (via CNBC), “Muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj.” She was immediately labeled a racist, but she shot back, “ISLAM is not a RACE, lefties. Islam includes EVERY RACE of people.” And she argued that her comment was just “a joke.” Her show’s network, ABC, didn’t find her tweet so funny and pulled the plug on her show. ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey said, per The Independent, “Roseanne’s Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show.”
Meanwhile, Barr maintained that she did nothing wrong. Speaking with Fox News‘ Sean Hannity, she said, “That is a tweet about asking for accountability from the previous administration about the Iran deal, which Valerie Jarrett is the author of, and that was what was in my head.” Barr also added that she wasn’t actually fired, saying, “I walked away from that show, despite the fact that I had a contract which protected me from if I got in trouble with tweets.”
Amber Heard was met with serious disapproval after making a tone-deaf “joke” on Twitter in July 2018, writing (via E! News), “Just heard there’s an ICE checkpoint in Hollywood, a few blocks from where I live. Everyone better give their housekeepers, nannies and landscapers a ride home tonight.”
As could be expected, the comment was not perceived warmly, and the Aquaman star soon deleted her tweet. But rather than apologizing, she sent out this message instead: “With this human rights crisis being so politicized, it is hard to make a simple statement [without] it being used to distract from the real issues. It’s hard for everyone to not be negatively affected by this subject [in] some way.”
She went on to respond to a number of critics personally. When one user tweeted back, “#BuildThatWall problem solved,” she replied, “Actually most people that are here illegally come by plane and outstay their visas, not the life-threatening trek across the some of the world’s most inhospitable terrain that the wall aims to block.” When another wrote, “FYI, police do street checkpoints all the time. Nothing new there. But I guess it might be unheard of in your gated community,” she fired back, “I grew up with those checkpoints, but that was miles from the border. Fortunately I don’t live behind gates (or fences) but I do live around and alongside many people who face that fate if this continues to escalate.”
Singer Rihanna took fans by surprise in 2012 when she allegedly made a racist joke about ex Chris Brown’s girlfriend Karrueche Tran amidst rumors that she and her former flame had reunited. The supposed shade came in the form of a photo showing a bag of rice cakes accessorized with sunglasses and hoop earrings, which Rihanna captioned, “Ima make u my b****.” As HuffPost noted, the line was a lyric from the song “Birthday Cake,” a single that Ri recorded with Brown, and the image may have been a reported knock against Tran who is half-Vietnamese.
According to Radar Online, Tran shot back on Facebook, writing, “Let me clear the air, if you have fenty at the end of ya name or your default is Rihanna you have a better chance of winning the lottery than ending up on my friends list.” However, the model later told the outlet that the comment didn’t come from her because she doesn’t have a Facebook page.
When HuffPost invited Chelsea Handler to take over their Twitter account and post live commentary during the 2014 Academy Awards, the publication likely didn’t expected her to dole out a number of racist comments.
It all started when Lupita Nyong’o won best supporting actress for 12 Years a Slave and Handler quipped, “#AngelinaJolie just filed adoption papers #lupitanyongo.” After the film won best picture, Handler continued on with the controversial comments. Promoting the release of her book, Uganda Be Kidding Me, the comedian tweeted, “Congratulations #12yearsaslave Go to Africa or buy #ugandabekiddingme.” Other eyebrow-raising comments included, “#AngelinaJolie’s adoption went through #sidneypoitier.” Twitter didn’t find Handler very funny with many followers voicing their disappointment. “Wtf… Poor taste,” read one response, as another read, “Wtf is that? How inappropriate can you be?”
As for HuffPost, Senior Executive Director for Communications Perri Dorset quickly pointed out to theGrio that “the views [expressed by Handler] are not ours.” Interestingly enough, the publication wouldn’t go on to delete any of the racially charged tweets.
The same week that To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before premiered on Netflix in August 2018, making Israel Broussard (who plays Josh) a star, the actor was knocked off his pedestal faster than he had gotten on it, when fans unearthed some extremely upsetting and questionable tweets in his Twitter history.
Broussard’s tweets included all kinds of racist comments, like, “Hashtags don’t f***ing matter. But all lives do. Black lives matter. White lives matter. Police lives matter,” as reported by Refinery29. He even gave a “shout out to Milo,” as in Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos, according to Pride, and he tried to joke, “Dogs can sense earthquakes. Too bad Japan ate them all.” As Pride reported, Broussard also posts sexist and homophobic tweets, including, “I’m not going out for a gay role, thank you though. Haha,” and, “I usually target the insecure good looking girls with little or no self-respect for themselves.”
While Broussard did issue an apology, tweeting (via Refinery29) that he was “deeply sorry for my inappropriate and insensitive words and likes on social media,” fans weren’t having it. “Reminder: Israel Broussard is trash and we’re not going to Stan him,” wrote one, while another echoed, “I will definitely not be watching the netflix film or any film starring you any time soon.”
Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Boxing phenom Floyd Mayweather Jr. was slammed for being racist in 2012, following a tweet about professional basketball player Jeremy Lin in which he tried to undermine the New York Knicks point guard’s talent and achievements. “Jeremy Lin is a good player but all the hype is because he’s Asian,” Mayweather tweeted. “Black players do what he does every night and don’t get the same praise.”
UFC president Dana White wasted no time in calling out Mayweather’s remarks, telling ESPN‘s Fuel TV, “First of all, what [Mayweather] said, I think, is racist.” He then asked, “And you say African-Americans don’t get it? Really? Kobe Bryant doesn’t get any praise? Michael Jordan never got any praise? The list goes on and on of guys who completely get praised for being great NBA basketball players.”
White also made sure to point out that that wasn’t Mayweather’s first time making racist comments. He added, “The other thing you said was that [boxer] Manny Pacquiao should make some sushi somewhere.” White noted, “Sushi is from Japan. He’s from the Philippines, dummy.”
When a natural disaster takes place, it’s common for celebs to send out prayers into the Twitterverse. Unless you’re Gilbert Gottfried. He apparently thought that the best response to the 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami, which claimed the lives of over 20,000 people, would be to make jokes. And he didn’t just make one comment — he made a slew of tasteless so-called jokes. Digital Journal managed to document a number of them. One read, “I just split up with my girlfriend, but like the Japanese say, ‘They’ll be another one floating by any minute now.'” A second post read, “Japan is really advanced. They don’t go to the beach. The beach comes to them.” He also wrote, “What do the Japanese have in common with @howardstern? They’re both radio active.”
Gottfried, who’d been the voice of Aflac’s duck mascot since 2000, was fired by the insurance company. Aflac had actually been one of the first businesses to help disaster relief efforts, donating 100 million yen (or almost $900,000) to the International Red Cross. Aflac Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Michael Zuna said in a statement (via Digital Journal), “Gilbert’s recent comments about the crisis in Japan were lacking in humor and certainly do not represent the thoughts and feelings of anyone at Aflac. Aflac Japan — and, by extension, Japan itself — is part of the Aflac family, and there is no place for anything but compassion and concern during these difficult times.”
Whether he’s getting into scuffles over parking spots or fighting paparazzi, Alec Baldwin seems to have quite the penchant for controversy. Even so, his Twitter followers were confused when the 30 Rock star decided to show off his love for rapper Kanye West in 2011, writing, “I love that song N****S IN PARIS!!! I love Kanye!! I love @IrelandBBaldwin most of all!!!” He then tweeted, “Kanye and I are doing a song called N****S IN MONTAUK. My album is called MY BEAUTIFUL PALE TWISTED FANTASY.” As could be expected, it wasn’t Baldwin’s strange proclamation of love that rubbed people the wrong way — it was his open use of the N-word.
While followers didn’t waste time calling Baldwin a racist, some outlets actually came to his defense. The Root, for one, argued that “critics should take their complaints to the artists who titled the song, not the fans who innocently and/or ignorantly repeat its name.” The actor apparently agreed. Not one to keep quiet, he fired back at critics, tweeting, “Anyone who thinks that quoting the title of that song is racist is a disgrace. To the human race.”
Rapper Azealia Banks has a knack for starting feuds, but that didn’t make her attack on singer Zayn Malik in 2016 any less shocking. After accusing the former One Direction member of copying her work, Banks unleashed a slew of racist and homophobic slurs when Malik responded to her accusations. He’d tweeted, “@AZEALIABANKS why you been saying nasty things about me? I wasn’t talking about you lol?”
As Us Weekly reported, Banks hit back with, “U.S.A IS ABOUT TO TEACH YOU WHO NOT TO F*** WITH!!” She then took aim at his “entire extended family,” and accused him of being “a white boy pretending to be black,” adding, “Do you know how lost and culture less you are?”
When the former boy bander kept his cool, tweeting, “No lies … I see you reaching but I don’t care,” Banks got even nastier and spewed even more racist slurs at Malik, which we’re not even going to repeat here. Banks was temporarily suspended from Twitter, The Guardian confirmed, and rightfully so.
Beauty vlogger Laura Lee was at the height of her career in 2018 when a number of racist tweets she had sent out six years earlier were exposed, bringing her empire crumbling down. Posted in 2012, the snarky messages, which Cosmetics Business made sure to screenshot, included a slew of racist comments, mocking Chinese people’s features and insulting black people.
Lee was quick to post an apology, tweeting, “The insensitive retweet and tweets I made are inexcusable and I apologize from the bottom of my heart to anyone affected by them.” Unfortunately for her, it was too little too late. As People reported, she lost over 400,000 YouTube subscribers, as well as most of her sponsorships. DIFF Eyewear pulled her sunglasses off its site, Morphe Cosmetics deleted her “Lee’s Favorites Brush Collection” section on their website, and Ulta Beauty canceled a collab, tweeting, “We have decided not to move forward with the launch of Laura Lee Los Angeles. Ulta Beauty values equality and inclusivity in all that we do.”
The CEO of Boxycharm, a beauty subscription service, also spoke out against Lee, taking to the brand’s Facebook page to announce they had cut ties with the YouTuber. “Absolutely we do not support that,” he said. “We do not understand how someone can tweet something like this. This is a very disturbing tweet.”