Steve Martin Apologizes for “Racist” Tweet

    December 25, 2013

After posting a joke on his Twitter account last week that offended quite a few people, Steve Martin has issued an apology. Martin told people to submit their grammar questions on Twitter on Friday night, as he has done before, and his response to one question left some people angry. Since making the offensive tweet, Martin has offered up an apology on Twitter and has made a full apology and explanation for his response on his website.

The grammar question that got Martin in hot water was, “Is this how you spell lasonia?” Martin’s response to that was, “It depends. Are you in an African-American neighborhood or at an Italian restaurant?”

One user took a screenshot of the offending tweet, which you can see below:

Many people assumed that Martin was mocking African American names and said the comment was racist. Martin was quick to delete the tweet and made a couple of apology posts:

Martin issued another apology on his personal website on Monday, plus offered an explanation for his response to make sure people knew he wasn’t making fun of African American names. Check out an excerpt of his apology below.

I was riffing on Twitter, inviting people to ask me grammar questions. I replied with what I hoped were funny answers. For example, a person might write “What’s the difference between “then” and “than?” I would say, “then” is a conjunctive preposition, and “than” is a misspelling of “thank.” I have done similar things to this on other occasions, and there is a great spirit of fun between me and the Twitters followers.

I was going along fine when someone wrote, “Is this how you spell “lasonia?” I wrote: “It depends if you are in an African American neighborhood or an Italian restaurant.” I knew of the name Lasonia. I did not make it up, nor do I find it funny. So to me the answer was either Lasonia (with a capital), or Lasagna, depending on what you meant. That they sounded alike in this rare and particular context struck me as funny. That was the joke. When the tweet went out, I saw some negative comments and immediately deleted the tweet and apologized. I gathered the perception was that I was making fun of African American names. Later, thinking it over, I realized the tweet was irresponsible, and made a fuller apology on Twitter.

Now that that matter is settled, we can all go back to guzzling eggnog and exchanging gifts.

Image via YouTube