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Harry Connick Jr. Offended By Racially Insensitive Australian TV Skit

| Filed under: Wacky, Tacky & TrueAustraliasticMichael Jackson

While appearing on a reunion special of Australian TV show Hey Hey It's Saturday, Harry Connick Jr. became offended by a skit of men performing in blackface (above).

The skit, which was a parody of the Jackson 5, called themselves the Jackson Jive, which was performed 20 years earlier on the show.

Harry, who was judging the performance, gave them a score of 0 out of 10.

Later, the shows host Daryl Somers could tell that the singer was offended and apologized. After the apology Connick, Jr. said:

“Thanks Daryl, and I just wanted to say on behalf of my country, I know it was done humorously, but we’ve spent so much time trying to not make black people look like buffoons, that when we see something like that, we take it really to heart. I know it was in good fun, and the last thing I want to do is take this show to a down level – because you know how much I love this show and this country – but I feel like I’m at home here, and if I knew that was going to be part of the show, I probably – I definitely wouldn’t have done it. Thank you for the opportunity, I’ve got to give it up because [I spoke to] Daryl at the break, and he said ‘Man, you need to speak up as an American – not as a white American or a black American, but as an American’. [I felt] I needed to say that, so thanks for giving me the opportunity, I appreciate it. You’re a good man for letting me do that.”

The skit was distasteful, tacky and too soon to be doing that kind of Jackson 5 "tribute".

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458 comments to “Harry Connick Jr. Offended By Racially Insensitive Australian TV Skit”

More comments: [1] 2 3 4 5 »

  1. 1

    I saw this last night. Disgusting. Good for Harry Connick.

  2. 2

    Not surprised. Australia is a very openly racist place.

  3. 3

    It was a distasteful stunt!
    I'm so glad Harry spoke up about it.
    Even though the hey hey guys are passing it up now as "cultural diversity"
    There is no place in society for behaviour like this.
    Not in this day and age.

  4. 4

    They shouldn't put jugges with no sense of humor in the show then

  5. 5

    2 thumbs up to Harry - he's an intelligent, class act.

  6. 6

    ignorant asses. lurve yah harry

  7. 7

    Re: Easydoesit – people have told me that but to be honest im not going to tar them all with the same brush.
    i think it was in very poor taste, i dont think anyone has laughed at this shit since about 1870, good on the bloke for standing up against it!

  8. 8

    GOOD for him!!!

  9. 9

    I am so happy and proud of Harry Connick!

  10. 10

    Omg, serously? Everyone want's to know why black's get angry.

  11. 11

    The skit was defintely done in bad taste. Good for Harry Connick Jr I respect him even more now.

  12. 12

    Humor is Humor, thats what it is poking fun! America needs to lighten up!

  13. 13

    Not funny. Not original. Offensive.

  14. 14

    No surprise; many white Australians are notoriously racist

  15. 15

    I'm so glad he spoke up. That whole blackface stuff was nasty anyways. There was always an element of mockery about it, even back in the day. Anyways, I always have held Harry Connick Jr. in high regard, and am even more so impressed from this. That kind of stuff is so not okay.

  16. 16

    These dumbass f—ers should know by now that's no funny. I don't care if it's Australia–newsflash–the world has access to American TV and culture, they know what the history is.

    Just wait for the dumbass racists to try to justify this and say shit like, "but what about 'White Chicks' or 'I don't see how it's offensive.'
    Go read a effing history books.

  17. 17

    i didn't find it funny at all. distasteful…just wrong.

  18. 18

    Re: bectacular – One of your comment's was; "Not in this day an age." It is exactly THAT. Racism will NEVER die and I think it's funny how people blacks/whites alike wanna sit here and pretend like it is not going on today.

  19. GWB5 says – reply to this


    The world, particularly America, has to really ease up on it's PC bullshit.
    Enough of this 'white guilt' crap.
    Be respectful, but move on already.

  20. 20

    …blackface? Good Lord. Unfortunately racism is alive and well in undereducated areas.

  21. 21

    He represented! Well done Harry!

  22. 22

    people should lighten up a little. sometimes we need humor and obviously it wasn't meant it to be as offensive as the extent people are taking it.

  23. 23

    oh bugger off. it was tacky and reminded aus how far we have come in 20 years. but not rude. we're not america. thank god. hey hey is hilarious and im glad we have the show back so we dont have to watch all the american crap that invades our country. hmm a country that tells bad jokes.. or a country that kills people from other countries for money and oil. i know which i'd prefer to be a part of.

  24. 24

    wow! and they always call us americans ignorant.
    HCJ is hot

  25. 25

    Re: lunarosa – Not to mention he is smokin hot.

  26. 26

    lighten up people. why not enjoy it for what it was and a tribute shown thru humor. we - as americans - do far worse and it obviously wasnt meant to be as offensive as people are making it out to be.

  27. 27

    Harry, you're a real man. Thank you.

  28. 28

    Six well-educated doctors donned mock Afro wigs and five of them wore blackface for this asinine routine. Never mind America–how do you suppose the Aboriginals in Redfern reacted to this stupidity?
    This is the nation that tore Aboriginal children away from their parents until the 70s. Simply disgusting, Australia.

  29. 29

    Fuck you Perez, you know exactly what the fuck you're doing you racist, hateful bastard. Fuck racist's and this shithole site!

  30. 30

    This whole thing reminded me that I used to find Mr. Connick quite attractive. Good on him! If only more Americans really felt this way!

  31. 31

    u r famouz…
    zhit happenz☻

  32. 32

    THat was dumb and Oh my that ladys wig looks really puffy!

  33. 33

    Re: PerezTheBlogNazi I don't think people want to pretend it's not there, obviously it is. But to assume that it's everyone, I think is where people get upset. If you are called a racist, whether you are or not, no matter what you say, it's "proof". Especially with the line that some of your friends are other races - which will be the exact proof that you do love and cherish someone as a friend of another race, is the most jabbed at to show you ARE. Never understood that one. I think what helps racism, not necessarily creates it, is that over time, people who try to stand up against it, still get called racist by the groups they are trying to help. You start to tread water and push against brick walls no matter how hard to try to pass the racist tag. Eventually, in some people, it causes a backlash and they turn into racists because they are sick and tired of other races trying to trod them down. I do applaud HCJ, that skit was very offensive. However, I think it is equally offensive for black people to go around putting "white face" on. Look at the film White Chicks for example. No one said a word about that. Those types of double standards are what can create more racism, instead of trying to keep it at a minimum.

  34. 34

    Now THAT'S an American! I'm so proud of him. None of this biting your tongue in entertainment BS.

    GOOD FOR HIM!!!!!!!

  35. 35

    LOVE Harry Connick Jr.! Such a class act and a gentleman!

  36. 36

    As a African American I can honestly say that this is very offensive and in such bad tatse. If you want to do a tribute fun, but dont be disrespecctful to the artist and a whole race of people.

  37. 37

    I'm a proud Australian, and I'm going to back these kids. They did a spoof of the Jackson Five, they weren't making fun of black people. So, stfu if you didn't watch or don't know the context. Sure, it wasn't great taste, but don't tell me American skits don't involve this kind of thing. American hypocrits.

    On the other hand, good on Harry for standing up for what he believes in, and good on Darryl for letting him speak.

  38. 38

    Re: Orator – Absolutely. Although when I watch BET and some of the things comedians say about white people are very intolerant and not funny.Then again, when I think of it, most of that humour is about white people being intolerant, stiff and failing to relate to any experience outside their own. Which is everybody's problem when you think of it.

  39. 39

    America needs to lighten the fuck up! The guy with the WHITE PAINTED FACE was actually dark-skinned from an Indian background. The reason why American's find this offensive and Australian's do not is simply because Americans go out of your way to over-compensate their own deep-seated racism. America is so concerned with political correctness and guilt, that it get's in the way of actually treating all people as (black, white, hispanic, asian) equal.

    Here in Australia, everyone is treated equally, whether that means allowing black people impersonating or copying white people and vice versa. A light-hearted act like this is by no means offensive or intended to harm or make fun of black people. Grow up!

  40. 40

    Re: caroaber
    I do sincerely care about what our own people think, not about the world. However, I'm quite sure we have acknowleged the horrid past, we've said sorry, sought reconciliation and we keep seeking ways to make ammends with our indigenous people. Progress is hindered by comments such as that.

  41. 41

    that skit wasn't even remotely funny. Very wacky and tacky, you're right perez

  42. 42

    Re: Moimeme – You said "This whole thing reminded me that I used to find Mr. Connick quite attractive. Good on him! If only more Americans really felt this way! "

    Hey idiot, the show was Australian.

  43. 43

    Really not funny at all. I'm glad there was a good man there to speak up.

  44. 44

    Re: PerezTheBlogNazi – This is not a perfect world and the people that are racist are usually narrow minded individuals who have issues with themselves. I think it is sad that you are going on a rant with the term "nazi" in your user name. I know racism happens. I experienced it first hand from my own family but it only makes you stronger and everyday that we do not condone the negative acts of racism is how we begin to demolish it we have to take baby steps to learn how to walk and we are doing just that but your user name is what makes you look like a hypocrite rather than taking a step forward.

  45. 45

    Re: GWB5 – I as a black person is surprisngly one of the first to say we are now overly PC but that is not what is going on here. It's just plain distateful and morever just nto funny. Pick up a history book it goes WAY deeper than pc.

  46. 46

    Re: SWEETPIECE! – Oddly enough Harry appeared in black face on Saturday Night Live once upon a time.

  47. 47

    You know, if black people did this with "white face" on I wonder if this would even be an issue..

  48. 48

    Re: SlurryDog
    # 39
    I agree with you and I live in the United States.
    I must, however, support Harry Connick. He is a class act and a good guy.
    Here's the thing .. that performance wasn't funny or clever or unique.
    It just wasn't good enough to defend!!!!

  49. 49

    Re: whocares10 – Yeah, but it kind of depreciates my view of Aussies. Thatt's the unfortunate part.

  50. 50

    yes it was done in poor taste but c'mon america…this type of skit has been done in your country all the time.

  51. 51

    Jeez stoopid pervez. Why are you posting the video if it's so distasteful and tacky? You and your phony writers are just furthering bad taste. I urge all that come to this site to take note of the different writing styles. Most are not written by pigass anymore. When you detect a difference, DO NOT SUBMIT COMMENT. Do this from now on, one week, one day, one hr.

  52. 52

    Re: whocares10
    # 23
    Unfortunately, I'm ashamed to admit it .. you are exactly right.
    I love my country, but we are still broken from 8 years of George W. Bush.
    That's the only reason I can think of for our chronic stupid behaviors.

  53. 53

    i thinks its funny its a fucking comedy show people that what comedy shows do were is ur sense of humer no one cries when gay people are made fun of on these show and most gay people dont act as they pertray.

  54. 54

    OH WHO CARES???? it was funny.

  55. GWB5 says – reply to this


    Re: Cleojonz
    Please enlighten me and save me the trip to the library.

  56. 56

    Harry, I'm glad that you spoke out against such an offensive skit but I'd like you to know that you don't have the power to "make" me "look like a baffoon". Anyone's attempt to portray me in that way would merely speak about the kind of person they are. When I'm seen in a positive light it's because I'm worthy, not because anyone else made me look that way. Don't confuse changing the way people see me with changing the way I look.

  57. 57

    Re: SlurryDog – "Here in Australia, everyone is treated equally"
    I have experienced discrimination first hand in this country, and it was all because i had an English accent. You cannot tell me everyone is treated equally with stickers paraded on the back of utes saying "fuck off we're full". I'm not trying to pick a fight. Racism is everywhere, but that doesn't mean it is right, or should be accepted. It isn't right, and everyone should make a conscious effort to get along. If this tv stunt offended just one person (which by the looks of it, offended more than one) then it should not be taken lightheartedly. Everyone should do their part to treat people as people, and not discriminate to try and get a laugh

  58. 58

    Gosh Harry we sure could all learn a thing or two from you. i feel truly a little bit more enlightened after your lecture. i think i'll go tell the neighbors now. Thanks again.

    -newly enlightened guy in CT

  59. 59

    Thank you HCJ!!! I wish more people were pissed over Tropic Thunder. . .but, no. . .we give RDJ an Oscar Nom. BOO.

  60. 60

    Re: alittlelove

    The act of portraying a different race is not in and of itself offensive. However, the "Blackface" routine has a long, racist history in American (usually depicting a black slave and/or servant, happy to serve at the feet of his white oppressors). Therefore, a white guy in shoe-polish makeup immediately brings forth such racist connotations, no matter how "well-meaning" the actors actually are. The context is irrelevant. If they had worn realistic makeup, I might listen to the "tribute" argument, but they wore the same exact pitch-black makeup associated with a well-known, long-despised theatrical practice while bobbling their heads around like idiots.

  61. 61

    props to harry connick…he's a class act all the way!!!!!

  62. 62

    "…….know it was done humorously, but we’ve spent so much time trying to not make black people look like buffoons, that when we see something like that, we take it really to heart."
    WTF?! That comment sounded racist too. We as a country try to make black people not look like buffoons???? Thats a weird way to state your distaste. HE should have said our country has fought for equality for years and I don't appreciate any humor that pushes us backwards.

  63. 63

    Re: bectacular
    It saddens me that you were treated that way in our country. Like you said, small minded people everywhere you go. I personally love and relish the time spent with my english friends :) even when I can't for the life of me understand what they are saying!

  64. 64

    Look. I'm an Australian. And I apologise for this. I understand it was offensive. But I can honestly say it was not intentionally racist.

    The fact is, America has a history of "blackface" performance and racism against African Americans. We don't have a history of either here. A lot of non-Americans would not be fully aware of the "blackface" performances etc. It's not hugely ignorant. It's just the way it is. I'm sure most of you don't know the detailed history or most other countries either.

    We know there is a lot of bad history of racism between African Americans and Whites in the United States. And I'd be the first to admit we have some negative history about racism in regards to Aboriginals here. But it's never been expressed by dressing up in black face paint or mocking them.

    Which is precisely why these guys WEREN'T being intentionally racist.

    To them, they were doing nothing more than dressing up in intentionally bad character costumes to perform a comedy sketch. Sure it was a bad sketch. That's the point of the show as anyone aware of Red Faces would know. But they weren't doing it to degrade a race. They were just dressing as characters. Just like you'd dress as a hillbilly or wear a beret and have a bad accent to be a Frenchman.

    I can assure you, we're not all evil racists. And I can tell you I for one, am sad that it's had such a negative affect on so many people who have responded. And I'm sorry for any hurt that it's caused.

  65. 65

    Re: bectacular – So you're saying that if one person told me they were offended by the colour red then no one should wear the colour red anymore? Please, that's just silly!

    I am sorry your experience here in Australia has not been a positive one or you have felt discriminated against, but racism exists everywhere, even in Africa and Asia, unfortunatley for most parts its inherent and primoridal to prefer ones own race. However I do beleive racism is far more prevalent or felt in the USA than it is here. Here in Australia segregation does not exist as much as it does there. My neighbours are black, white, Greek and Thai. My best friends are Malaysian, Indonesian, white and Croation. My point is in America this is less likely to happen, due to black/white suburbs.hispanic towns etc. They fear each other too much and treat each other differently.

    Again. This skit was in no way intended to harm anyone and should not be treated as such. P.S Who the hell does HCJ think he is implying all black people are not buffons only because white people allowed them not to be? Idiot.

  66. 66

    Re: alittlelove – Yes. There are tons of skits in America that are as in bad taste as this was. They're kept inside the KKK community, however, not broadcast on national television.

  67. 67

    Re: Lady_Saccharine_Sweetness

    Why WOULD it be an issue if black people wore whiteface? Did Paul Robeson tour the country in whiteface, demeaning honkies back in the 1920's? No. But many popular white performers DID wear blackface, and portrayed black people as pickaninny mammy-lovers without a care in the world, grateful to belong to a white man who doesn't beat him too bad. THAT's the problem.

    White people can still portray black people in this country. Darrel Hammond impersonated Jesse Jackson on SNL for years. Billy Crystal has portrayed Sammy Davis Jr. and Muhammed Ali. They were somehow able to do so without dipping their heads in fudge and shaking their heads around like Huggy Bear.

  68. 68

    Preach it, Harry. You just made me lust you even more…

  69. 69

    Seriously? You cant do fuck all in this world without offending someone.
    I'm not racist. And I'm not narrow minded.
    But everyone needs to lighten up.
    And Australia is not an ignorant or offensive country. We're very laid back.
    You American's are just always looking for something new to bitch about.
    You all seem to think that anyone outside of the US is not a legitimate human being.
    Well, not everyone thinks the US is golden and holy and fulfilling.
    It was skit. Made for Humor. Like SNL. That offends people, but because it's American, it's accepted. Would you all be reacting the same way if SNL had done this skit? No.

  70. Moron says – reply to this


    I don't understand why the hell people watch offensive videos,give them views and ratings,then complain about it. The video was described in words and considered offensive.It should have been enough reason to not click on the stupid video.That is the best way to send a message.

  71. 71

    Maybe in Australia this skit wasn't seen as offensive, but I thought it was in bad taste, as have many other people on this site. It's not just an uptight, PC, American attitude that finds it offensive.
    Remember when Ted Danson did something similar? He did it as an innocent joke, not intending to offend anyone, but he offended many people. I doubt the intention of the performers was to offend people, but the fact is that it did offend people.

  72. Sic says – reply to this


    But its ok for the Wayans to dress up for "White Chicks" in US movie Theaters. Get over it and the double standard.

  73. 73

    Re: NedNedNed
    I appreciate what you're saying. They were ignorant in their choice, they obviously didn't think too deeply about what they were doing. But they did not go out to hurt or offend anybody. Especially when they themselves have varied backgrounds. The thing is, is just as racist to call the whole of Australia racist. It's so damn hypocritical.

  74. 74

    Good for Harry. Unfortunately, for Harry, when the Today Show aired a piece on this, they also aired a comedy bit Harry did as a black southern judge.

    Am glad he did what he did on this show. It is too soon for such a parody. If people knew the history of performing in black face, they'd get why it's not cool. Love HCJ.

  75. 75

    Re: Serena!!!COLON!!! You Twats

    A quick glance at American TV shows me differently. Those in glass houses shouldn't cast stones.

  76. 76

    Re: NedNedNed

    That's the point NedNedNed. 99% of Australians wouldn't know who "Paul Robeson" is or what he did in the 1920s. Just as I'm sure you don't know a whole lot about what people were doing here in Australia in the 1920s.

    People are assuming Australians share your American history. We don't. To us, it was just guys dressing up as characters. And how black the makeup is or how frizzy the hair was doesn't make a difference to us because we don't have your cultural background.

  77. 77

    Re: Brenny_K23 – Wow. So now you feel a need to insult all Americans? You're just as bad as the people calling Australia a backwards, racist country!
    I'm sick of seeing people bringing up disgusting cultural stereotypes on this site all the time. Travel outside your own countries and learn more about each other, or at least stop listening to stereotypes. Then, maybe, you won't be making these ignorant comments.

  78. 78

    HOW is this racist?

  79. 79

    Re: alittlelove – Name those shows.

  80. 80

    Re: Serena!!!COLON!!! You Twats – Your obviously American, I'm obviously Australian. We will not see eye to eye on this subject, as we are both going to defend our respective countries.
    But we here in Australia know how to take a joke when it's played at us. And you have done so many times.
    You can dish it, but you can't take it? Because that how it seems.
    And if I'm right, America has done skit's and such in character the same way these people have. You claim we are racist and all of that, but would you all be crying the same thing if it was an American doing the exact same thing. No, you wouldn't. And don't say you would, because you know that would be a lie.

  81. 81

    BET is direspectful to white race, are they getting flack? no, cause humor is humor we don't give a shit

  82. 82

    thank god he said something! things like that can not go on being ignored or being called a joke or not racist. IT IS. and if you know your history, you know that.

    that was amazing of him, im very proud that he did it, especially when he was the odd man out. PEOPLE NEED TO STAND UP TO RACISM, CALL IT OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  83. 83


  84. 84

    This is distasteful to be honest - We should leave these fools in Compton or the Apollo Theatre. We shall see whether this is offensive or not.

  85. 85


  86. 86

    Really? Racism is so cliche, silly.

  87. 87

    Re: Sic – GREAT POINT!!!!

  88. 88

    Re: Lady_Saccharine_Sweetness – ever watch "White Chicks" bitch?

  89. 89

    Re: Ins0mniac

    I was mostly responding to the "It's not fair that white people aren't allowed to put on blackface because if black people put on whiteface no one would say anything" crowd, not to Australians as a whole. I'm not saying that Australians need to be as racially sensitive as Americans. By all means, keep calling Arab people Pakis, and fighting the immigration of non-white people to your country. Some people just seemed confused over the whole "blackface" fuss, that's all.

  90. 90

    Re: Brenny_K23 – I lived in America for 10 years, but I'm British. I live in Scotland and never said Australia was racist. I also said the people that did the skit probably didn't mean it to be offensive. I believe what you did was take my comment completely out of context. I said "You're just as bad as the people calling Australia a backwards, racist country!"
    If you had read my comments, you'd see that I said I was also offended when Ted Danson did the same thing. He's an American, and I really could not care less what nationality the person is doing it.

  91. 91

    what about how the indigenous people of australia have been treated?

  92. 92

    hilarious, people get over yourselves. its not rasict or distasteful.. unless your a twat :)

  93. 93

    and they arent racist in australia, just patriotic, and picky who they let in (dont let scum in)

  94. 94

    Harry Connick is, was and always will be a class act.

  95. 95

    Re: Belerofonte – you should learn to spell before you post. The post itself was ignorant enough. The inability to spell just reinforces your cluelessness.

  96. 96

    Seeing people in blackface just weirds me out in general… it's not right. It gives me the chills, and not in a good way.

  97. 97

    Jesus, if that would never happen in the UK.

  98. 98

    Kudos to him for standing up for not just black America, but all of America. That should not be acceptable in any part of the world. I think the fact that they won with that same routine 20 years ago shows how far that we have come.

  99. 99

    I understand that they were trying to parody the Jackson 5.
    I get the points that people were trying to make, but honestly this has a little bit of racism attached to it, only by theie overexaggurated DARK faces.
    There are many ways to represent a black face, try maybe foundation.
    Im sure using anything else would have take just as much time to paint their face charcoal black.
    They look more like aliens with afros… O_o
    I agree with HCJ completely

  100. 100

    I am sitting here having a really loud laugh at the americans, who have worked themselves up into such an emotional state over this. Seriously, you guys need to lighten up and grow some.
    You know how the world views your country and so you are now trying to bring others down.
    Racism comes from INTENT. There was no intent to be offensive or racist in the skit. You Americans are making it that way. Gawd you lot are funny. HAHA

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