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Howard Stern Responds to Donald Trump Jr. Bringing Up Old Blackface Sketch

on June 15, 2020, 1:53pm

Howard Stern used to be close buds with Donald Trump, having him and members of his family as guests on his show numerous times over the years. His alliances have clearly changed, as he’s called Trump’s initial campaign for president a publicity stunt while also encouraging his supporters to drink bleach. That turn of opinion has raised the ire of Donald Trump Jr., who called Stern out over the weekend for an old bit he did in which he wore blackface and used the n-word repeatedly. Now, the shock jock has responded on his SiriusXM morning show.

For context, the 1993 sketch in question aired during a New Year’s Eve pay-per-view special. Stern was lampooning Ted Danson, who had worn blackface to a Friar’s Club roast with his then-girlfriend, Whoopi Goldberg. While Stern mocked Danson, the great Sherman Hemsley portrayed Goldberg. In his statement, Stern admitted that the moment from his past was “fucking crazy,” but said he’d gone through years of therapy to change his ways and “wouldn’t” do such a bit again (via Deadline).

Stern said he never rewatches his old shows because they make him “cringe” and he doesn’t recognize that version of himself. “But that was my shtick, that’s what I did and I own it,” he stated. He explained that his “drive” to “succeed on the radio” by going “fucking crazy” had a huge toll on him. “Emotionally it was costing me a lot. The FCC was after me, the right wing was after me, I had the Ku Klux Klan after me, threatening my life. All kinds of crazy stories.”

He continued, explaining how professional helped lead to positive change:

“I could do 17 movies on my life, how crazy it was. I was fined millions of dollars by the federal government, for sex. Not for race, because if you talked about race, they never cared. Look, that was the show. I went into therapy and said, what is this? Do I always have to be the guy pulling my pants down? Can I find a way to do the show where I can be a lot happier? Over the years, I did change the show. A lot of people who did like that humor, where I was completely pulling my pants off, those people are pissed off at me now. They think I’m a sellout and I’m not doing a good show anymore. I got soft. I came to realize in therapy, if I’m going to be with my kids, and have a successful marriage, I can’t be insane completely 24 hours a day. I have to figure out a better way to communicate. So I evolved and changed.”


Stern noted that 40 years’ worth of shows are out in public and he never hides from them. “The big headline is this, and this is my fear in all of this: I was able to change my approach, able to change my life and change how I communicated,” he explained. Stern went on to blast the Trumps for not being willing to make similar changes:

“I will say, it fucking distresses me that Donald Trump Jr, and Donald, themselves won’t go into psychotherapy and change. Why not change the way you’re approaching things because, wearing a mask is not a bad thing. Telling people the actual size of the crowd at your inauguration is okay. Attacking me during the coronavirus and Black Lives Matter is absolutely fucking crazy, concentrating on me. You want to concentrate on me and bully me, and expose me, with all the TV shows I’ve done? They’re all out there. There’s nothing new here. We all know. I was the craziest motherfucker on radio.”

“Dude, if you’re the president of the United States and you want to worry about me, go ahead,” Stern concluded. “I don’t think I have much influence honestly. And breaking news: Howard Stern was absolutely insane and out of his mind… If you solve the pandemic, then we can go and review all my old shows. I paid a fortune to fix me, it ain’t easy. I would do anything. By the way if you did some more digging you would find I was fired by a ton of radio stations for a lot of different reasons.”

Stern’s longtime radio partner, Robin Quivers, also responded to Trump Jr. and stood behind her friend and coworker. “I have listened to Stern since he first got to New York in the 1980s, and he certainly has evolved from the moment he described, when it was anything goes. And you can feel the influence of his psychotherapy sessions in the long interviews he does with artists,” Quivers said. “Some humor on the SiriusXM show still crosses the line, clearly, but he has long been a voice for inclusion and for women’s rights and the LGBTQ cause.”

Read both Stern and Quivers’ complete statements below (as transcribed by Deadline).

Howard Stern:

“The shit I did was fucking crazy. I’ll be the first to admit. I won’t go back and watch those old shows; it’s like, who is that guy. But that was my shtick, that’s what I did and I own it. I don’t think I got embraced by Nazi groups and hate groups. They seemed to think I was against them too. Everybody had a bone to pick with me.

It was something in me, a drive you wouldn’t believe. As a young man, I wanted to succeed on the radio and I wanted to go fucking crazy. Emotionally it was costing me a lot. The FCC was after me, the right wing was after me, I had the Ku Klux Klan after me, threatening my life. All kinds of crazy stories. I could do 17 movies on my life, how crazy it was. I was fined millions of dollars by the federal government, for sex. Not for race, because if you talked about race, they never cared. Look, that was the show. I went into therapy and said, what is this? Do I always have to be the guy pulling my pants down? Can I find a way to do the show where I can be a lot happier? Over the years, I did change the show. A lot of people who did like that humor, where I was completely pulling my pants off, those people are pissed off at me now. They think I’m a sellout and I’m not doing a good show anymore. I got soft. I came to realize in therapy, if I’m going to be with my kids, and have a successful marriage, I can’t be insane completely 24 hours a day. I have to figure out a better way to communicate. So I evolved and changed.

The big headline is this, and this is my fear in all of this: I was able to change my approach, able to change my life and change how I communicated. If I had to do it all over again, would I lampoon Ted Danson, a white guy in blackface? Yeah, I was lampooning him and saying, I’m going to shine a light on this. But would I go about it the same way now? Probably not. Not probably, I wouldn’t. At the same point, I will say, it fucking distresses me that Donald Trump Jr, and Donald, themselves won’t go into psychotherapy and change. Why not change the way you’re approaching things, because wearing a mask is not a bad thing. Telling people the actual size of the crowd at your inauguration is okay. Attacking me during the coronavirus and Black Lives Matter is absolutely fucking crazy, concentrating on me. You want to concentrate on me and bully me, and expose me, with all the TV shows I’ve done? They’re all out there. There’s nothing new here. We all know. I was the craziest motherfucker on radio. There will never be another show crazier than mine. There will never be another show, ever, that was as fucking wacky as my show. So crazy, I think I might have been insane. A psychiatrist puts it that I was craving too much attention. Like maybe I could knock it down 20% and still live my life and have an audience. Which was right. There it is. I’m not a hater. I’m excited about being on the radio as most of those who listen on the radio know. I’m excited about gay rights, telling you not to beat up gay people. I’m excited about the changes that are coming out of Black Lives Matter. Watching [George Floyd] choked to death, as I’ve said before, it’s sickening and appalling and I think real change might be in the air. It has nothing to do with me; it’s these guys hitting the streets and saying we’ve had enough. I’m excited about real change that is coming… I’m excited about the changes I’ve made in my approach to radio. But Jesus Christ, anybody who wants… I would suggest the people who are listening now have heard my shows over the past 40 years.

I never go back and look at that stuff. I cringe when I look at myself 30 or 40 years ago, and that was 27 years ago, I go, I can’t stand it. Am I a bad guy? I don’t think so. Donald Trump didn’t think so, he was on my show 27 times. Donnie Junior did the show. On TV he said, I’m really disappointed in Howard, he’s changed, that I’ve gone Hollywood. Which is it? Do you want me to get in blackface and make fun of Ted Danson? I have changed. They leak TV shows that have been on TV to the press. I remember how badly Donald Jr wanted to take a picture with me.

Dude, if you’re the president of the United States and you want to worry about me, go ahead. I don’t think I have much influence honestly. And breaking news: Howard Stern was absolutely insane and out of his mind. I would take on anything and say anything and do anything. All the old shows prove it. I’ve heard a rumor they’re working on leaking out the movie Private Parts. I own everything I did. I never did it behind the scenes, I did it right in front of your face. Always. Tried to make a point, sometimes, sometimes not. If you solve the pandemic, then we can go and review all my old shows. I paid a fortune to fix me, it ain’t easy. I would do anything. By the way if you did some more digging you would find I was fired by a ton of radio stations for a lot of different reasons.”

Robin Quivers:

“I have long been a proponent of free speech and a long time ago I made a vow to myself that one word was never going to keep me out of a room. I don’t care about that word, don’t care about being called an Uncle Tom, because I know who I am and what I stand for. I was showing all that time, that it didn’t mean anything about you. It maybe meant something about the people who were playing around with it, but it didn’t mean anything about you and it doesn’t mean anything about you.

I have listened to Stern since he first got to New York in the 1980s, and he certainly has evolved from the moment he described, when it was anything goes. And you can feel the influence of his psychotherapy sessions in the long interviews he does with artists. Some humor on the SiriusXM show still crosses the line, clearly, but he has long been a voice for inclusion and for women’s rights and the LGBTQ cause.

Not that all the rough edges have been gone since he got to SiriusXM. For a long time, the show ran an interstitial clip of a segment where a racist white man, a frequent caller to the show, taped a paid phone sex call. The worker, who was clearly African American, was trying to do her job and didn’t flinch as this cretin called her every disparaging racial insult he could think of, and you imagine here was this woman, maybe with kids at home, who had to endure this indignity to make a living. And then Stern would come back on the air and do these enlightened interviews with Rosie O’Donnell, Dave Chappelle or Whoopi Goldberg or Chris Rock and I never understood why Stern or any of his producers would think for a moment that this interstitial was ever funny. I haven’t heard that bit in a long time, so maybe the show continues to evolve. Certainly this growing feud between Stern and the Trumps will continue to evolve as election season ramps up. But clearly, Stern isn’t going to die of embarrassment over the retroactive shaming ploy.”