Steve Harvey’s sense of humor is an acquired taste — either you’re really into it or you’re shaking your head. But a recent joke completely missed the mark and has a lot of people really ticked off.
Harvey grew up in Cleveland — the mayor even named Jan. 17 “Steve Harvey Day” — so as you can guess, he wasn’t too happy when the Cleveland Cavaliers lost to the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals. But when a Warriors fan from Flint, Mich., called in to his morning show this week and said LeBron James deserved to lose, Harvey made it personal.
According to listeners’ accounts, the comedian told the man: “You’re from Flint? That’s why y’all ain’t even got clean water. When’s the last time you touched water and it didn’t have lead in it?”
For several years, Flint residents were exposed to lead-contaminated water, a subject that isn’t exactly a great punchline. Harvey’s co-hosts even asked him to “reel it in” and apologize. So did he? Nope — instead he doubled down, offering this parting shot to the Flint man, “One more thing though, you enjoy your nice brown glass of water.”
As you can imagine, critics posted comments on Harvey’s Facebook page, with one writing: “Shame on you Steve for talking about us Flint residents that way.”
After plenty of backlash, Harvey released a statement, explaining why he said what he said, but still not apologizing for it:
“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 raising awareness for the Flint water crisis.
I also pressed then candidate, Hilary Clinton, to offer solutions to what I called one of the great catastrophes of modern times.
The [sic] and 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
This isn’t the first time Steve Harvey has found himself in hot water: