Howard Stern has become the latest in a long list of celebrities and power players to be forced to confront their use of blackface.
On Thursday a video appeared online showing Stern in minstrel-style makeup, liberally using the N-word. It was cut together with a recent appearance on “The View” during which he claimed he’d never used that word.
Sources tell Page Six that the clip — a skit that seems to take aim at Ted Danson’s infamous 1993 blackface performance with then-girlfriend Whoopi Goldberg — was part of Stern’s “New Year’s Rotten Eve Pageant,” which aired on pay-per-view on December 31 that year.
In the video he plays Danson, and addresses his long-time black sidekick Robin Quivers, making corny and highly racist jokes, such as, “What do you call a black rocket scientist?,” the punchline to which is the N-word.
When his audience seems shocked by the language, Stern defends himself by saying, “Whoopi wrote it!” Then he calls Quivers a “smelly” N-word, and again excuses himself by saying, “Whoopi wrote that.”
The point of the skit seems to be that Danson used Goldberg’s apparent blessing of his behavior as license to be freely racist.
Longtime Stern employee Steve Grillo of the Aftershock XL podcast network — who worked on the special — tells Page Six that he doesn’t believe Stern is racist and that he never used that language off-air. He said that because the show was on pay-per-view and wasn’t governed by Stern’s longtime nemesis the FCC, their attitude was, “We’ve got the whole world watching — let’s push the limits.” He added, “The leash was off and they were going to be rabid dogs.”
The clip was first posted by controversial filmmaker Tariq Nasheed and bubbled up among right-wing Twitter users — possibly because Stern recently came out against President Trump — and was eventually retweeted by Donald Trump Jr.
A rep for Stern didn’t get back to us.