Blackface Jackson Skit Stuns Connick Jr.; Others Call Him a Hypocrite
By PopEater Staff Posted Oct 8th 2009 06:46AM
An Australian variety show featuring performers parodying the Jackson Five while in blackface so outraged its American judge, that the program's host immediately apologized.
New Orleans native Harry Connick Jr. was serving as a guest judge on Wednesday night's 'Hey Hey It's Saturday' when he became visibly shocked by the skit, in which four men with afro wigs and dark make-up calling themselves the "Jackson Jive" sang and danced behind a Michael Jackson impersonator wearing white makeup. Watch it after the jump.
Connick gave the skit a zero and later confronted the show's host, Daryl Somers, about the taboo subject.
"I just want to say, on behalf of my country, I know it was done humorously, but we've spent so much time trying to not make black people look like buffoons, that when we see something like that we take it really to heart," he told Somers.
Somers seemed to realize the mistake and immediately apologized to Connick personally.
"I know that to your countrymen, that's an insult to have a blackface routine like that on the show, so I do apologize to you," Somers said.
According to reports, the singer walked off the show after the skit and later said he'd wished he never agreed to participate on the show. "If I knew that was going to be part of the show I definitely wouldn't have done it."
'Harry the Hypocrite'
But just as he is being lauded for calling out the Australian group's insensitive skit, Connick Jr. is also being labeled a hypocrite by many. In 1996, the singer-actor played a preacher in a 'Mad TV' sketch where his skin appears to be darker than usual. While he clearly isn't in actual blackface, viewers of the clip are wasting no time calling him out on a double standard.
"Harry is a hypocrite of the highest order, typical shallow celebrity with double standards, do as i say, not as i do ..." posted AussieOz07 in the comments section of the clip, found on YouTube.
According to the AP, Anand Deva, the frontman of the "Jackson Jive" act, said it was not meant to cause offense but added he would not have performed it in the United States.
Public reaction to the performance in online forums was mixed. Some Australians said they were embarrassed such a racist sketch had been broadcast, while others said detractors were too politically correct and that the skit was funny.
Michael Jackson died June 25 at age 50.
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