Comedian Chris Rock sparked heated debate and backlash after a joke about gunmen in mass shootings always being white.
The actor and former Oscars host was accused of being “racist” after posting a joke using a word-play on actress Betty White’s name in reference to mass shootings in Texas and Ohio over the weekend.
“The first thing people say when a mass shooting is announced,” read the meme posted by Rock on Wednesday. The post included a photo of the 97-year-old actress and Rock’s caption, “get it,” as a note about the punchline, which is a pun based on the pronunciation of her name: “Bet he white.”
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Rock’s joke was apparently in reference to the double shootings which claimed the lives of over 30 people on the weekend. While both shooters in El Paso and Dayton were white men, some in past incidents like in Aurora, Ill. and Virginia Beach earlier this year, were not.
The comedian’s post went out to his 3.4 million Instagram followers on Wednesday but got mixed reactions.
Fellow stand-up comedian Jeff Ross gave Rock a “thumbs-up” while actresses Rachel True and Tamala Jones seemed to have enjoyed it as well as their emoji reactions indicated. Others were not sure what the joke was and some were relieved to find that White’s photo was not posted because she had died.
Many others, however, slammed Rock for what they called out as a “racist” joke.
“This is racist,” one Instagram user said simply.
“If a white person posted this about black people their career would be over but when it’s the other way around nobody gives two s***s,” another commented. “You can’t fight racism with racism, you’re just contributing to the problem. Sad a 17-year-old kid has to say this.”
“Don’t ya love how this is racist but nobody cares because he is black,” one Instagram user wrote. “We all need to unite instead of being toxic on social media and solve the problem.”
@chrisrock Shame on you, that’s racist and just wrong on so many levels, apologize!
— Vicki Keehner (@VKeehner) August 8, 2019
“Can’t wait for you to do your research and look up mass shooters in the United States,” another told Rock.
“Somewhat funny on a stage Chris. Not now man,” one person commented.
“Stay out of politics clown,” an angry user commented. “The rich need to stop this.”
But others defended Rock, chiding the critics and dismissing claims of racism.
“Black people can’t be racist because they have never exerted and forced their power and will over other people deemed lower than their race,” one person noted. “You don’t understand and just wanna cry about the unfairness of your privileged life.”
“It’s a stereotypical fact,” another said. “A gag done by a comedian. What’s a comedian’s job again!? To make inappropriate jokes/gags. This one just happened to be a little too true, to the point that it stings.”
— ✌️Thank you President Trump✌️ (@Redwaveman) August 8, 2019
Nonsense. If you can’t understand the joke and the point he was making then perhaps you might want to consider living in a monastery or a cloistered nunnery. https://t.co/mGut4RI6EC
— Lionel?? (@LionelMedia) August 8, 2019
The only people offended by what Chris Rock posted are racist and people looking for any reason to be butt hurt.
— Riley Jones III (@rileyjonesiii) August 7, 2019
If you’re offended by the Chris Rock mass shooting joke, you’re obviously a racist.
— August_Macias (@August_Macias) August 7, 2019
Of course it was. I thought it was funny. Saw the joke on my TL and it took me a second before I got the punchline. Sometimes, you have to laugh to keep from crying. That’s what comedy is about. A medicine that makes you feel better.
— Keith Adams Jr. (@BigBrother1988) August 7, 2019
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