Steve Harvey is facing backlash over a joke about the poisoned water in Flint, Michigan.
On Wednesday, Harvey took a phone call on morning radio talk show where he discussed Cleveland’s loss to Golden State in the 2017 NBA Finals. However, during the call, Harvey didn’t take kindly to the caller’s lack of respect for the 2016 NBA champions, snapping back at the caller over the ongoing water crisis in his hometown of Flint.
“You from Flint?” Harvey asked the caller, as reported in the Detroit Free Press. “That’s why ya’ll aint even got clean water. When was the last time you touched water and it didn’t have lead in it.”
“I wasn’t talking about the city of Flint, I was talking about him,” Harvey continued. “He going to call in, say Cleveland don’t deserve jack, and he over there bathing in all that silver water.”
“Enjoy your nice brown glass of water,” Harvey said, just before ending the call.
Though, Harvey defended his statement, chalking the joke up to be simple “trash talk about sports,” the city’s mayor was not amused. Karen Weaver sent a letter to the host demanding an apology, saying the joke was “in very poor taste.”
What are your thoughts?
Check out Harvey’s full statement as well as Weaver’s full letter below:
“This morning callers and I were cracking jokes about the Cleveland Cavaliers loss to the Golden State Warriors. I’m a huge Cavs fan.
The caller and I were talking trash about our teams and cities. ‘SIMPLY TRASH TALKING ABOUT SPORTS.’
I made a joke directed at him, as he is from Flint, a city for which I have great affection and respect. So much so that I devoted a full hour on my daytime talk show to raise awareness for the Flint water crisis.
I also pressed then candidate, Hillary Clinton, to offer solutions to what I called one of the great catastrophes of modern times.
The caller laughed as my joke was taken in the context it was offered. Any attempts to craft this into anything more serves no one.”
– Steve Harvey
“As Mayor of the City of Flint, and someone who has been on your show and spoken with you personally about the Flint Water Crisis, I was deeply saddened by your comments about our city. While I feel it was not meant to be an intentional hurt or insult against the citizens of this community, it was.
We are still going through many hardships and challenges caused by the poisoning of our city. To make a joke out of a tragedy such as this was in very poor taste, especially coming from someone of your stature.
While we are making progress in replacing lead tainted service lines, we still have to use filters and remain on bottled water. As Mayor, I would appreciate, on behalf of the citizens of this community, a public apology. I would love to sit and discuss with you the status of where we are today.”