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This is a list of celebrities who have been caught being racist. The following famous people landed in hot water after making a racial or anti-Semitic slur, posted a stereotypical photo, or Tweeted negative comments about a race other than their own.

The gallery below doesn’t necessarily include racist celebs or notorious bigots, but mostly well-known stars of film, TV, and sports who have caused controversy because they didn’t use a filter to prevent themselves from offending other people. Whether they were joking or not at the time, there is nothing funny about the hurtful words, offensive pictures, or tasteless Twitter posts that almost cost these celebs their careers. For some, like former leading man and acclaimed filmmaker Mel Gibson or culinary legend Paula Deen, making racist remarks have truly ruined their reputation.

Racism is a huge problem all over the world and in the U.S. – race relations, discrimination, and racial stereotypes are constantly hot topics of conversation. Hate crimes are increasing, and just because words can’t physically hurt another human being, the pain inflicted on someone with a hateful racist remark and slurs can often be worse.

Most of the celebs in the quotes gallery below are stars who were caught being racist have either said something racist on stage like comedian Michael Richards, made a crude racial remark on an interview like singer and songwriter John Mayer, caught on tape in an angry voicemail like Charlie Sheen, or posted an offensive photo on Twitter, like pop stars Rihanna and Miley Cyrus. Almost everyone of these celebrities, actors, and athletes, like football player Riley Cooper and boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr., have issued some sort of apology for what they said, but the public doesn’t easily forget.

 

Photo:  Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 2.0

Lea Michele

After openly expressing support on social media for the Black Lives Matter movement on May 29, 2020, former Glee co-star Samantha Ware responded via Twitter:

LMAO REMEMBER WHEN YOU MADE MY FIRST TELEVISION GIG A LIVING HELL?!?! CAUSE I’LL NEVER FORGET. I BELIEVE YOU TOLD EVERYONE THAT IF YOU HAD THE OPPORTUNITY YOU WOULD “SH*T IN MY WIG!” AMONGST OTHER TRAUMATIC MICROAGRESSIONS THAT MADE ME QUESTION A CAREER IN HOLLYWOOD…”

Michele didn’t mention Ware by name, but apologized days later saying:

One of the most important lessons of the last few weeks is that we need to take the time to listen and learn about other people’s perspectives and any role we have played or anything we can do to help address the injustices that they face. When I tweeted the other day, it was meant to be a show of support for our friends and neighbors and communities of color during this really difficult time, but the responses I received to what I posted have made me also focus specifically on how my own behavior towards fellow cast members was perceived by them.

While I don’t remember ever making this specific statement and I have never judged others by their background or color of their skin, that’s not really the point. What matters is that I clearly acted in ways which hurt other people. Whether it was my privileged position and perspective that caused me to be perceived as insensitive or inappropriate at times or whether it was just my immaturity and me just being unnecessarily difficult, I apologize for my behavior and for any pain which I have caused.

Age: 32

Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States of America

Photo: Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0

Tucker Carlson

In March 2019, radio recordings of Fox News host Tucker Carlson targeting immigrants, the Iraqi nation, and the Obamas resurfaced. The recordings are from an interview with the radio host “Bubba the Love Sponge,” and aired between 2006 and 2011. According to Business Insider, Media Matters published the tapes and called for an apology from Carlson, which he refused to give citing “the left’s main goal” to “control what you think” as the problem.

Carlson’s remarks on immigrants claim, “There’s some really good, I mean, immigrants. I just think it’s, you know, people who come to this country ought to have something to offer. Be hot, be really smart, you know what I mean?”

When discussing his view’s on the Iraq war he said, “I hate the war. You know, I’m not defending [it] in any way, but I just have zero sympathy for [the people of Iraq] or their culture. A culture where people just don’t use toilet paper or forks. They can just shut the f*ck up and obey, is my view…

Iraq is a crappy place filled with a bunch of, you know, semiliterate primitive monkeys – that’s why it wasn’t worth invading.”

Carlson expressed displeasure with Michelle Obama as “a public figure” because “you just get the feeling she’s got a major chip on her shoulder… [She] turns into a ‘sister.'”

Advertisers like CareerBuilder, Red Lobster, and SmileDirectClub have pulled away from Carlson’s Fox News program as a result.

Age: 49

Birthplace: California, United States of America

Photo: Georges Biard/Wikipedia/CC BY-SA 3.0

Liam Neeson

In a promotional interview with The Independent for the 2019 film, Cold Pursuit, Liam Neeson admitted that he once “roamed the streets” in pursuit of the “black b*stard” who assulted someone very close to him, even though he had no idea who the man actually was.

Neeson laments, “It was horrible, horrible, when I think back, that I did that. And I’ve never admitted that, and I’m saying it to a journalist. God forbid.”

Age: 66

Birthplace: Ballymena, United Kingdom

Photo:  Astrid Stawiarz/Stringer/Getty Images Entertainment

Roseanne Barr

On May 29, 2018, Roseanne Barr posted a racist tweet about Valerie Jarrett, a Black woman who worked for President Obama’s administration as a top adviser. In the tweet, Barr said that if “muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj.” Twitter users were outraged, and hours later, her peers and employers started taking action.

Wanda Sykes, a consulting producer on Roseanne, announced her resignation from the show on Twitter. ABC canceled Roseanne, with the entertainment president of ABC, Channing Dungey, saying “Roseanne’s Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant, and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show.”

Her representation, ICM Partners, also dropped her due to her insensitive online comment:

We are all greatly distressed by the disgraceful and unacceptable tweet from Roseanne Barr this morning. What she wrote is antithetical to our core values, both as individuals and as an agency. Consequently, we have notified her that we will not represent her. Effective immediately, Roseanne Barr is no longer a client.

Age: 66

Birthplace: Salt Lake City, Utah, United States of America

Photo: Eva Rinaldi/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 2.0

Kelly Osbourne

In response to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s outrageously racist positions on immigration, The View co-host Kelly Osbourne had her own not-so-PC things to say. Osbourne was probably trying to refute the politician when she said, “If you kick every Latino out of this country, then who is going to be cleaning your toilet, Donald Trump?”

Unfortunately for Osbourne, her words also came across as racist and inconsiderate. The comment sparked outrage on Twitter, prompting an apology from Osbourne. She wrote on her Facebook page, “I want to start by saying I ALWAYS take responsibility for my actions. In this particular case I will take responsibility for my poor choice of words but I will not apologize for being a racist as I am NOT. I whole-hearted fucked up today. I don’t want to bullshit anyone with lame excuses.”

Source: Time

Age: 34

Birthplace: Westminster, London, United Kingdom

Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Hulk Hogan

Hulk Hogan (whose real name is Terry Bollea) lost his super star status in the WWE after court documents showed that he had made severely racist statements. The transcripts were submitted to a Florida court as part of Hogan’s lawsuit against the website Gawker.com. They come from a sex tape Hogan made with the wife of Tampa shock jock Bubba the Love Sponge Clem, and include candid moments where Hogan discusses his daughter’s relationship with a “black billionaire.” In the tapes, Hogan says:

I don’t know if Brooke was f*cking the black guy’s son. I mean, I don’t have double standards. I mean, I am a racist, to a point, f*cking n*****s. But then when it comes to nice people and sh*t, and whatever. I mean, I’d rather if she was going to f*ck some n*****, I’d rather have her marry an 8-foot-tall n***** worth a hundred million dollars! Like a basketball player! I guess we’re all a little racist. Fucking n*****.

Hogan later apologized for his rant, but it was too late for his relationship with the WWE. He was scrubbed from their site and erased from the WWE Hall of Fame.

Source: GawkerRadar

Age: 65

Birthplace: Augusta, Georgia, United States of America

Photo: The Heart Truth/Wikimedia Commons

Giuliana Rancic

E! Fashion Police host Giuliana Rancic publicly apologized for her “accidental” racist comments about singer/actress Zendaya during an Oscars red carpet recap. Rancic made an insensitive comment about Zendaya’s dreadlocks, saying that she thought Zendaya probably smelled like patchouli oil. Fellow host Kelly Osbourne added, “or weed.”

Zendaya was offended by the comments, saying that she chose to wear her hair in locs to the award ceremony in order to “showcase them in a positive light, and remind people of color that our hair is good enough.”

Rancic apologized on E! News, saying: “I didn’t intend to hurt anybody, but I’ve learned it is not my intent that matters. It’s the result. And the result is that people are offended, including Zendaya, and that is not okay. Therefore, I want to say to Zendaya and anyone else out there that I have hurt, that I am so, so sincerely sorry.”

Age: 44

Birthplace: Naples, Italy

Photo: Lou Stejskal/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 2.0

Justin Bieber

Originally filmed for Bieber’s 2011 documentary Never Say Never, Bieber is sitting in a room in Los Angeles with a group of friends. Bieber sets the joke up when his friend can be heard in the background, advising him not to finish the joke, before Bieber smirks and delivers the punchline.

Bieber received a lot of backlash from his fans, Beliebers, on Twitter. One fan said, “Bieber is actually disgusting. Man’s gone too far this time.” Another one posted: “Bieber – no excuse, no acceptable reason for racism. The use of the N-word [is] disgraceful and racism far too serious to ever be funny.”

Since then, Bieber’s clean-cut appearance has gone bad boy, getting himself into trouble with the police and disappointing fans all over the world.

(Source)

Age: 24

Birthplace: London, Canada

Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Donald Sterling

In 2014, LA Clippers owner, business magnate, and real estate developer, Donald Sterling was caught making racist remarks to his mistress, V. Stiviano. Stiviano, who is of African-American and Mexican descent, made a recording, released by TMZ on April 26, in which Sterling tells her not to associate publicly with “black people,” especially at Clippers games.

NBA investigators and a forensic expert determined that the voice heard on the audio tape was Sterling’s and was not altered. The NBA banned him for life, fined him $2.5 million, and raised the possibility of a forced sale of the team, which could be worth up to $500 million.  

Age: 84

Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois

Photo: Georges Biard/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0

Mel Gibson

No one can forget Mel Gibson telling a policeman during his 2006 DUI arrest that “Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world.” In 2010, several voicemails were released of the hot-headed actor and filmmaker going postal on his ex-wife Oksana Grigorieva. In one of his rants, Gibson wished that his ex got raped by a pack of the “n” word and in another, he referred to Mexicans as “wetbacks.”

(Source)

Age: 63

Birthplace: Peekskill, New York, United States of America

Photo: David Livingston/Getty Images

Paula Deen

The butter-loving queen of Southern cooking practically lost her business empire and was fired by the Food Network after she was caught in the middle of a racially charged controversy in 2013. Deen admitted to using the “n” word and was accused by a former employee of racial harassment.

(Source)

Age: 72

Birthplace: Albany, Georgia, United States of America

Photo: Michael Buckner/Getty Images

Michael Richards

During a 2006 performance at the Laugh Factory in Hollywood, the former Seinfeld actor shouted racial slurs to black hecklers in the audience, used the “n” word several times, and even referred to lynching.

(Source)

Age: 69

Birthplace: Los Angeles, USA, Culver City, California

Photo: Fox News/via foxnews.com

Bob Beckel

In 2017, Fox News anchor Bob Beckel was fired from the network for a second time after he allegedly made a racist remark to a black employee. Executives previously fired Beckel from his program The Five in 2015 after checking himself into rehab for a drug and alcohol addiction. He was rehired in January 2017, but fired in May of the same year after the black employee complained.

Age: 70

Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States of America

Photo: Riley Cooper/Instagram

Riley Cooper

In 2013, a video surfaced of NFL player Riley Cooper using the “n” word to describe bouncers after he was denied backstage access at a Kenny Chesney concert. The Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver has since apologized for his slur and was fined an undisclosed amount by his team.

(Source)

Age: 28

Birthplace: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Photo: Joella Marano/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 2.0

Charlie Sheen

Sheen’s 2008 voicemail to Denise Richards contained the actor saying the following awful statement: “You’re a coward and a liar and a f-cking n***** alright, so f-ck you.”

(Source)

Age: 53

Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States of America

Photo: DEWALT POWER TOOLS FIGHT NIGHT CLUB 2010/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 2.0

Floyd Mayweather Jr.

The boxer disrespected Filipinos after racially attacking opponent Manny Pacqiao on ESPN. In 2012, Mayweather went after basketball star Jeremy Lin with a Tweet that said, “Jeremy Lin is a good player, but all the hype is because he’s Asian.”

(Source)

Age: 41

Birthplace: Grand Rapids, Michigan, United States of America

Photo: Ned Scott/Wikimedia Commons

John Wayne

During a 1971 interview with Playboy, the legendary actor was quoted as saying, “I believe in white supremacy until blacks are educated to a point of responsibility.”

(Source)

Age: Dec. at 72 (1907-1979)

Birthplace: Winterset, Iowa, United States of America

Photo: BankingBum/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0

Ted Danson

Danson appeared in blackface at a 1993 Friar’s Club comedy roast in honor of his then-girlfriend Whoopi Goldberg. The actor made extensive use of racial stereotypes (including eating a watermelon) and used the “n” word more than a dozen times.

(Source)

Age: 71

Birthplace: USA, California, San Diego

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Photo: Patty Keigan/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 2.0

John Mayer

In a candid interview with Playboy in 2010, John Mayer admitted, “My dick is sort of like a white supremacist. I’ve got a Benetton heart and a f*ckin’ David Duke cock.” To really hammer the insensitivity home, he also used the n-word.

(Source)

Age: 41

Birthplace: Bridgeport, Connecticut, United States of America

Photo: David Shankbone/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

Chelsea Handler

During a 2011 Twitter war with actor and TV host Nick Cannon, Handler posted a stereotypical photo of a can of grape soda and demanded that Cannon drink it.

(Source)

Age: 43

Birthplace: Livingston, New Jersey, United States of America

Photo: Keith Allison/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

Shaquille O’Neal

Before meeting fellow NBA star Yao Ming in 2003, Shaq said, “Tell Yao Ming, Ching chong-yang-wah-ah-soh.”

(Source)

Age: 46

Birthplace: Newark, New Jersey, United States of America

Photo: David Shankbone/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 3.0

Alec Baldwin

In a series of Tweets posted in 2011, Baldwin mentioned Kanye West and Jay-Z’s song “N*ggas in Paris,” which set off a firestorm of backlash against the “30 Rock” star.

(Source)

Age: 60

Birthplace: Amityville, New York, United States of America

Photo: Glenn Francis/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0

Paris Hilton

An excerpt from Neil Strauss’s book Everyone Loves You When You’re Dead, Paris Hilton was quoted as saying, “I can’t stand black guys. I would never touch one. It’s gross.”

(Source)

Age: 38

Birthplace: New York City, USA, New York

Photo: Metaweb (FB)/GNU Free Documentation License

Roger Ebert

The film critic made headlines for a 2011 post on Twitter about the story of Huckleberry Finn. Ebert Tweeted, “I’d rather be called a N***** than a Slave.”

(Source)

Age: Dec. at 71 (1942-2013)

Birthplace: Urbana, Illinois, United States of America

Photo: avrilllllla/Flickr

Rihanna

The singer posted a racist photo directed towards Chris Brown’s Vietnamese girlfriend, Karrueche Tran, that referred to her as “rice cakes.” There was also a line on the remix track “Birthday Cake” (a duet recorded by Rihanna and Brown) that alluded to Tran’s race.

(Source)

Age: 31

Birthplace: Saint Michael Parish, Barbados

Photo: Metaweb (FB)/CC-BY-SA-2.0

Gilbert Gottfried

The crude standup comedian sent out a Tweet after the devastating 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan that offended the Japanese and the Jews. Gottfried Tweeted, “What do Japanese Jews love to eat? Hebrew National Tsunami.”

(Source)

Age: 64

Birthplace: New York City, USA, New York

Photo: Metaweb (FB)/Fair use

Jay-Z

Back in 2010, the hip-hop superstar allegedly banned “white people” into the VIP section at his Brit Awards after-party in London.

(Source)

Age: 49

Birthplace: New York City, USA, New York

Photo: s_bukley/Shutterstock

Duane Lee Chapman

In 2007, Duane “Dog the Bounty Hunter” Chapman made several racist slurs during an angry voicemail rant to his son (whose girlfriend at the time was black).

(Source)

Age: 66

Birthplace: Denver, Colorado, United States of America

Photo: JStone/Shutterstock

Miley Cyrus

Disney tween princess Miley Cyrus apologized for participating in a controversial group photo by pulling at the corner of her eyes to make them slanted, commonly associated with mocking Asians.

(Source)

Age: 26

Birthplace: Nashville, Tennessee, USA

Photo: Metaweb (FB)/Public domain

Moby

The electronic music DJ angered many people with a Tweet about a Jay-Z and Kanye West lyric, to which he implied that adding more black women in the MoMA would turn the museum into “the new hood.”

(Source)

Age: 53

Birthplace: Harlem, New York City, New York, United States of America

Photo: Metaweb (FB)/CC-BY

Asher Roth

The Caucasian rapper Tweeted in 2009 that he was “hanging out with nappy headed hoes.”

(Source)

Age: 33

Birthplace: Morrisville, Pennsylvania, United States of America

Photo: Amy Graves/Getty Images

Soulja Boy

Frustrated with his stalled career in 2009, the rapper went off on his record label and called them “crackaz” and “CRACKERS,” and accused them of watering down his music and who ruined his “music dream.”

(Source)

Age: 28

Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States of America

Photo: Jaguar PS/Shutterstock

Jesse James

A photograph taken in 2004 of Sandra Bullock’s ex-husband Jesse James showed him doing a Nazi salute while wearing a Nazi hat.

(Source)

Age: 49

Birthplace: Long Beach, California, USA

Photo: DFree/Shutterstock

Joe Jonas

Like fellow former Disney star Miley Cyrus, Joe Jonas of the Jonas Brothers was caught making slanted eyes in a photo that surfaced in 2009.

(Source)

Age: 29

Birthplace: Casa Grande, Arizona, United States of America

Photo: Metaweb (FB)/GNU Free Documentation License

Tila Tequila

During a nasty Twitter war with Power 105.1 DJ Charlamange the God, Tila Tequila fired off several racial epithets against the African American community.

(Source)

Age: 37

Birthplace: Singapore

Photo: Metaweb (FB)/Public domain

Zab Judah

Before a 2011 match with former WBA light welterweight champ Amir Khan, the boxer Tweeted a racial low blow by calling his opponent “CurryKingKhan” and hoping he would “choke on his Samosa.”

(Source)

Age: 41

Birthplace: New York City, New York

Photo: Joe Bielawa/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 2.0

Ricky Rubio

The Minnesota Timberwolves player Tweeted a photo of his teammate Kevin Love along with the caption: “Ok, he doesn’t look like a Mexican anymore but I think he looks even worst…Here is our superstar.”

(Source)

Age: 28

Birthplace: El Masnou, Spain

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