Elley Shannon, AP, September 22, 2006
Austin, Texas — The Texas chapter of the NAACP asked comedian and independent gubernatorial candidate Kinky Friedman on Friday to apologize for using a racial slur during a 1980 nightclub act in Houston.
NAACP President Gary Bledsoe said in a letter that Friedman’s remarks “invoke the worst racial stereotypes about people of color.”
On Thursday, the campaign issued a lengthy statement denying Friedman was a racist and explaining that he used comedy to lampoon bigotry. Friedman told The Associated Press the criticism was orchestrated by his political opponents.
Earlier this month, Friedman referred to Hurricane Katrina evacuees in Houston, most of whom are black, as “crackheads and thugs.” He later criticized ethnic politicking by saying, “I don’t eat tamales in the barrio, I don’t eat fried chicken in the ghetto and I don’t eat bagels with the Jews.”
Then a television interview from a year ago resurfaced in which Friedman was asked what to do about sexual predators. He said: “Throw them in prison and throw away the key and make them listen to a Negro talking to himself.”
On Thursday, a left-leaning political Web site posted an audio clip of Friedman telling a joke at a nightclub in 1980 in which he used the n-word.
On Friday, the same Web site posted two more audio clips of Friedman telling race-related jokes, one of which included the n-word.
Bledsoe told Friedman in the letter that he cannot brush aside his remarks as “politically incorrect,” as he has in the past.
“That flimsy excuse reeks of insincerity,” Bledsoe wrote.