Chris Rock, Ricky Gervais, and Louis CK have come under fire over a resurfaced video showing the three comedians repeatedly using the N-word.
The clip, taken from an episode of HBO’s Talking Funny with Jerry Seinfeld, has gone viral seven years after it first aired in 2011.
“When white people are rich, they are just rich forever and ever,” explains Louis. “When a black guy gets rich, it’s a countdown to when he’s poor again.”
“He’s the blackest white guy I fucking know,” Chris Rock replies.
“You’re saying I’m a nigger?” Louis responds.
“Yes, you are the niggerest fucking white man I have ever met,” Rock responds, provoking laughter from C.K. and Gervais.
After the group debate whether they would use the word on stage, Seinfeld making the case that he would never use the word because hasn’t found it funny, Gervais says: “Who says nigger on stage?”
The clip sparked outrage on social media from activists, much of which was aimed at Chris Rock for allowing the use of such language from white people as a black man.
What was Chris Rock thinking?
— deray (@deray) December 22, 2018
I'm sorry. Chris Rock did what?
— Monique Judge (@thejournalista) December 22, 2018
I know black folks who are completely comfortable with white people saying the n-word in their presence. Have had to tell a few white folks that I’m not that black person. Still it says something the only person who was uncomfortable was Seinfeld pic.twitter.com/8wrGGufBUS
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) December 23, 2018
That Louis Ck/Ricky Gervais/Chris Rock clip is GROSS. Jerry Seinfeld is the only one in the room with some sense???!
— Brooke Thomas (@BrookeOnAir) December 22, 2018
I remember finding out Louis CK wrote and directed pootie tang.
— Chance The Rapper (@chancetherapper) December 22, 2018
Rock’s lack of protest is considered particularly strange given his own views on racial justice, having previously denounced alleged racial profiling and the “everyday racism” he experiences as a black man.
Meanwhile, it is not the first time that Gervais has been criticized for using the N-word. In 2016, he was forced to defend his use of the word in his film David Brent: Life on the Road.
“People are saying ‘are you worried about the backlash?’ and I’m like no, I’m worried about doing the joke right,” Gervais said at the time. “If I do the joke right I don’t care. Something that’s done with passion is better for the populous than something that they’d created by committee.”