Howard Stern Under Fire for Use of Blackface and the N-Word in Resurfaced Segment

A 1993 segment featuring Howard Stern wearing blackface and using the N-word resurfaced on social media, alongside a clip from Stern's appearance on The View last year, in which he told Sunny Hostin he never used racist language on his show. Stern parodied an infamous 1993 performance where Ted Danson wore blackface next to Whoopi Goldberg. No matter the context behind the clip, Stern is being called on to apologize, especially in light of the ongoing protests against racial inequality.

In the 1993 skit, which aired as part of Stern's pay-per-view New Year's Rotten Eve Pageant on Dec. 31 that year, Stern wore blackface while repeatedly using the N-word. Throughout it, his longtime Black sidekick Robin Quivers asks him racist jokes, to which the punchlines all involve the N-word. Stern defends each use of the word by claiming "Whoopi wrote that," in reference to Goldberg reportedly approving of Danson wearing blackface in their skit.

Separately, Stern appeared on The View while promoting his book Howard Stern Comes Again. Hostin, who is Black, said she found Stern's show "offensive" because he uses the N-word. Stern denied this, telling her he did once have a KKK member on and allowed him to use the racist slur, but did not use it himself. "I don’t like people who live under a rock," Stern said. "I said to the guy, ‘Let me hear what you’re saying and let’s confront it and let’s talk about it.’"

Hostin said she has changed her mind about Stern as a person, praising him for changing over the years. Stern said his radio show is still "crazy and wild," but he has opened it up to "some new ideas where people, some really fantastic people, are coming in and feel safe enough to be interviewed and get into some real conversation."

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The View segment did not reference the controversial 1993 segment. However, after The View aired, a YouTube user posted clips from the interview juxtaposed with the blackface skit. There are also other racist skits, including one where he wore blackface while playing Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. The YouTube video was shared on Twitter and some users posted screenshots in response to recent Howard Stern Show tweets.

Although Stern has not responded to demands of an apology, his longtime employee Steve Grillo defended Stern, telling Page Six Stern is not racist and he never used the N-word off-air. The 1993 show was on pay-perf-view and did not need to follow FCC guidelines, so they pushed the limits of what they could do. "The leash was off and they were going to be rabid dogs," Grillo said.