This is how you apologize

I can take or leave Halle Berry.  I consider her a phenomenally pretty women, but otherwise don’t spend a whole lot of time thinking about her.  She popped up in the news, though, for making a catty comment on the Jay Leno show about Jewish people’s noses:

The Oscar-winning actress has issued a public mea culpa for a quip made on The Tonight Show Friday, in which she joked that a photograph making her nose look unusually large could pass for a picture of  “my Jewish cousin.”

While making the requisite small talk with host Jay Leno, Berry pulled out pictures she had taken of herself on her computer through Apple’s Photo Booth software.

“The machine morphs your face to look like all these silly other people,” she said. “Whenever I’m feeling really bad about the world I do this to crack myself up.”

In introducing the first picture from the batch, in which her nose was vastly distorted, Berry said, “This one, I don’t know, this is like my Jewish cousin.”

The full remark never made it on air, however. The audience’s silence at the attempted joke was covered with a laugh track and the word Jewish was muted out.

Leno’s reaction, though, was not.

“I’m glad you said it and not me,” he said.

Frankly, it was tacky, but I’ve heard worse — and more dangerous.  Making remarks about people’s looks is mean-spirited, but it’s not anti-Semitic in the way you see in remarks about “world domination,” “controlling the money supply” or “drinking children’s blood.” The latter remarks are explosively dangerous, the former just mean.

And it turned out that it probably wasn’t quite as mean as it sounded, but showed the difference between a group making jokes about itself, and those same jokes coming out of someone else’s mouth:

Berry also said one of her assistants, who happens to be Jewish, actually made the joke just before the actress went on.

“What happened was I was backstage before the show, and I have three girls who are Jewish who work for me. We were going through pictures to see which ones looked silly, and one of my Jewish friends said, ‘That could be your Jewish cousin!’ And I guess it was fresh in my mind, and it just came out of my mouth.

Give the nature of the remark, and given the explanation behind the remark (which sounds true), I’m inclined to accept Halle’s wholehearted, un-waffling apology (emphasis mine):

“But I didn’t mean to offend anybody. I didn’t mean any harm.

“It was just supposed to be a silly segment. I am so sorry, and I apologize.”

Having said that, I’m with Ann Coulter and Michelle Malkin in decrying the different way in which the media treated this flap, as opposed to flaps emanating from big mouthed celebrities with Republican connections.

3 Responses

  1. I’m reminded of my beloved father-in-law, who grew up in
    segregated Texas and Oklahoma, and who in his later
    years would still come out with racist jokes — despite
    his close association in church, at work, and even in
    social situations, with people of every ethnicity.

    I didn’t give him a pass on these stories – I’d say some-
    thing about the problem being highlighted being a
    HUMAN problem, and not limited to one race or another,
    but it wasn’t hard to figure out what was going on – and
    the man never committed a racist action so long as I knew
    him. However, when our kids came along, I had a talk
    with him and made it clear that if he wanted to have
    them spend time around him, he HAD to watch his
    mouth….and he came through.

  2. So now all the bigots get to come out of the closet and let loose with their hateful tirades. The fact of the matter is that Halle’s remark was careless and regretable – not mean-spirited and racist. So what is it that you people want from her …blood? I’ll bet not one of you uttered a single word of rage abot the Don Imus remark, but you want to crucify Halle Berry because of an off reference about noses? Please …gimme a break !

  3. How often do you get the feeling that people don’t bother to read the posts, but just dive in with their hatred and biases intact? Had Bljteach (and please God, that person isn’t a teacher) actually read the post, s/he would have seen that I was not castigating Halle Berry at all but, in fact, was quite supportive of her.

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