Chevy Chase rant: 'Community' star uses racial epithet on set

Chevy Chase rant: The actor went off on set of "Community" about the racist comments of his character on the TV show. In his rant, Chevy Chase reportedly asked if his character would say the "N-word" next.

AP
Chevy Chase's rant on the set of 'Community' reportedly briefly stopped production, then Chase apologized to the show's cast and crew.

Chevy Chase reportedly shouted the N-word on the set of “Community,” objecting to how his “Community” character is portrayed as racist and asking if "Pierce Hawthorne" would say the n-word on the show next, according to TVLine.

The cause of the rant? Chase was reportedly complaining that his character has become more and more racially insensitive as the show has continued.

According to TVLine, production stopped briefly, then Chase apologized to the cast and crew.

Earlier this year, a voicemail that Chase left for former “Community” creator Dan Harmon was leaked. At the show’s wrap party, Harmon had mentioned Chase walking off the set during production, and Chase later left an angry voicemail on Harmon’s phone insulting Harmon. “I don't get talked to like that by anyone,” Chase said in the voicemail, according to the New York Daily News.

Because the history of the racial epithet Chase used is so loaded, the irony is of course that Chase was doubtless more offensive to people with his rant than his character has ever been on the show. Pierce is often portrayed as being clueless about pop culture and what is currently acceptable to say because of his age, once saying on the show, “I do have a young African-American friend now” when referring to Donald Glover’s character "Troy Barnes."

Disagreement over whether it is ever acceptable to use the racial term that Chase employed has been going on in the entertainment industry for decades. Talk show mogul Oprah Winfrey called out rapper Jay-Z, who often uses the word in his songs, in a 2009 interview.

“I was once at a Jay-Z concert, and there was a moment when everybody – including white people – was screaming the N-word,” she told him. “I got to tell you, it didn't make me feel good… but it didn't seem to affect you. You were having a good time up there onstage.”

"When I hear the N-word, I still think about every black man who was lynched—and the N word was the last thing he heard," said Oprah.

“It’s a generational thing,” Jay-Z replied. And in a video clip of the interview, Jay-Z added "We took the power out of the word. We took a word that was ugly and hateful and turned it into a term of endearment."

“Seinfeld” actor Michael Richards faced backlash in 2006 when he used the word and referenced lynching while performing at the Laugh Factory in California.

“I'm really busted up over this and I'm very, very sorry,” Richards later said during an appearance on “Late Show with David Letterman.”

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.