This is a list of public figures and celebrities who have been caught being racist. The following famous people landed in hot water after making a racial or anti-Semitic slur, posted a stereotypical photo, or Tweeted negative comments about a race other than their own.
The gallery below doesn’t necessarily include racist celebs or notorious bigots, but mostly well-known stars of film, TV, and sports who have caused controversy because they didn’t use a filter to prevent themselves from offending other people. Whether they were joking or not at the time, there is nothing funny about the hurtful words, offensive pictures, or tasteless Twitter posts that almost cost these celebs their careers. For some, like former leading man and acclaimed filmmaker Mel Gibson or culinary legend Paula Deen, making racist remarks have truly ruined their reputation.
Racism is a huge problem all over the world and in the U.S. – race relations, discrimination, and racial stereotypes are constantly hot topics of conversation. Hate crimes are increasing, and just because words can’t physically hurt another human being, the pain inflicted on someone with a hateful racist remark and slurs can often be worse.
Most of the public figures and celebs in the quotes gallery below are stars who were caught being racist have either said something racist on stage like comedian Michael Richards, made a crude racial remark on an interview like singer and songwriter John Mayer, caught on tape in an angry voicemail like Charlie Sheen, or posted an offensive photo on Twitter, like pop stars Rihanna and Miley Cyrus. Almost everyone of these celebrities, actors, and athletes, like football player Riley Cooper and boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr., have issued some sort of apology for what they said, but the public doesn’t easily forget.
While they aren’t necessarily racists, Hollywood people, celebrity athletes, and famous musicians on this list have all been caught saying offensive statements.
Who are the most shocking celebs caught being racist? Check out the gallery below and be sure to also visit Ranker’s lists of celebrities who have declared bankruptcy and people Amanda Bynes has called ugly.
On May 29, 2018, Roseanne Barr posted a racist tweet about Valerie Jarrett, a Black woman who worked for President Obama’s administration as a top adviser. In the tweet, Barr said that if “muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj.” Twitter users were outraged, and hours later, her peers and employers started taking action.
Wanda Sykes, a consulting producer on Roseanne, announced her resignation from the show on Twitter. ABC canceled Roseanne, with the entertainment president of ABC, Channing Dungey, saying “Roseanne’s Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant, and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show.”
Her representation, ICM Partners, also dropped her due to her insensitive online comment:
We are all greatly distressed by the disgraceful and unacceptable tweet from Roseanne Barr this morning. What she wrote is antithetical to our core values, both as individuals and as an agency. Consequently, we have notified her that we will not represent her. Effective immediately, Roseanne Barr is no longer a client.
In response to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s outrageously racist positions on immigration, The View co-host Kelly Osbourne had her own not-so-PC things to say. Osbourne was probably trying to refute the politician when she said, “If you kick every Latino out of this country, then who is going to be cleaning your toilet, Donald Trump?”
Unfortunately for Osbourne, her words also came across as racist and inconsiderate. The comment sparked outrage on Twitter, prompting an apology from Osbourne. She wrote on her Facebook page, “I want to start by saying I ALWAYS take responsibility for my actions. In this particular case I will take responsibility for my poor choice of words but I will not apologize for being a racist as I am NOT. I whole-hearted fucked up today. I don’t want to bullshit anyone with lame excuses.”
Hulk Hogan (whose real name is Terry Bollea) lost his super star status in the WWE after court documents showed that he had made severely racist statements. The transcripts were submitted to a Florida court as part of Hogan’s lawsuit against the website Gawker.com. They come from a sex tape Hogan made with the wife of Tampa shock jock Bubba the Love Sponge Clem, and include candid moments where Hogan discusses his daughter’s relationship with a “black billionaire.” In the tapes, Hogan says:
I don’t know if Brooke was f*cking the black guy’s son. I mean, I don’t have double standards. I mean, I am a racist, to a point, f*cking n*ggers. But then when it comes to nice people and sh*t, and whatever. I mean, I’d rather if she was going to f*ck some n*gger, I’d rather have her marry an 8-foot-tall n*gger worth a hundred million dollars! Like a basketball player! I guess we’re all a little racist. Fucking n*gger.
Hogan later apologized for his rant, but it was too late for his relationship with the WWE. He was scrubbed from their site and erased from the WWE Hall of Fame.
E! Fashion Police host Giuliana Rancic publicly apologized for her “accidental” racist comments about singer/actress Zendaya during an Oscars red carpet recap. Rancic made an insensitive comment about Zendaya’s dreadlocks, saying that she thought Zendaya probably smelled like patchouli oil. Fellow host Kelly Osbourne added, “or weed.”
Zendaya was offended by the comments, saying that she chose to wear her hair in locs to the award ceremony in order to “showcase them in a positive light, and remind people of color that our hair is good enough.”
Rancic apologized on E! News, saying: “I didn’t intend to hurt anybody, but I’ve learned it is not my intent that matters. It’s the result. And the result is that people are offended, including Zendaya, and that is not okay. Therefore, I want to say to Zendaya and anyone else out there that I have hurt, that I am so, so sincerely sorry.”
Originally filmed for Bieber’s 2011 documentary Never Say Never, Bieber is sitting in a room in Los Angeles with a group of friends. Bieber sets the joke up when his friend can be heard in the background, advising him not to finish the joke, before Bieber smirks and delivers the punchline.
Bieber received a lot of backlash from his fans, Beliebers, on Twitter. One fan said, “Bieber is actually disgusting. Man’s gone too far this time.” Another one posted: “Bieber – no excuse, no acceptable reason for racism. The use of the N-word [is] disgraceful and racism far too serious to ever be funny.”
Since then, Bieber’s clean-cut appearance has gone bad boy, getting himself into trouble with the police and disappointing fans all over the world.
In 2014, LA Clippers owner, business magnate, and real estate developer, Donald Sterling was caught making racist remarks to his mistress, V. Stiviano. Stiviano, who is of African-American and Mexican descent, made a recording, released by TMZ on April 26, in which Sterling tells her not to associate publicly with “black people,” especially at Clippers games.
NBA investigators and a forensic expert determined that the voice heard on the audio tape was Sterling’s and was not altered. The NBA banned him for life, fined him $2.5 million, and raised the possibility of a forced sale of the team, which could be worth up to $500 million.
No one can forget Mel Gibson telling a policeman during his 2006 DUI arrest that “Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world.” In 2010, several voicemails were released of the hot-headed actor and filmmaker going postal on his ex-wife Oksana Grigorieva. In one of his rants, Gibson wished that his ex got raped by a pack of the “n” word and in another, he referred to Mexicans as “wetbacks.”
The butter-loving queen of Southern cooking practically lost her business empire and was fired by the Food Network after she was caught in the middle of a racially charged controversy in 2013. Deen admitted to using the “n” word and was accused by a former employee of racial harassment.
During a 2006 performance at the Laugh Factory in Hollywood, the former Seinfeld actor shouted racial slurs to black hecklers in the audience, used the “n” word several times, and even referred to lynching.
In 2017, Fox News anchor Bob Beckel was fired from the network for a second time after he allegedly made a racist remark to a black employee. Executives previously fired Beckel from his program The Five in 2015 after checking himself into rehab for a drug and alcohol addiction. He was rehired in January 2017, but fired in May of the same year after the black employee complained.
In 2013, a video surfaced of NFL player Riley Cooper using the “n” word to describe bouncers after he was denied backstage access at a Kenny Chesney concert. The Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver has since apologized for his slur and was fined an undisclosed amount by his team.
Sheen’s 2008 voicemail to Denise Richards contained the actor saying the following awful statement: “You’re a coward and a liar and a f-cking n-gger alright, so f-ck you.”
Floyd Mayweather Jr.
The boxer disrespected Filipinos after racially attacking opponent Manny Pacqiao on ESPN. In 2012, Mayweather went after basketball star Jeremy Lin with a Tweet that said, “Jeremy Lin is a good player, but all the hype is because he’s Asian.”
During a 1971 interview with Playboy, the legendary actor was quoted as saying, “I believe in white supremacy until blacks are educated to a point of responsibility.”
Danson appeared in blackface at a 1993 Friar’s Club comedy roast in honor of his then-girlfriend Whoopi Goldberg. The actor made extensive use of racial stereotypes (including eating a watermelon) and used the “n” word more than a dozen times.
In a candid interview with Playboy in 2010, John Mayer admitted, “My dick is sort of like a white supremacist. I’ve got a Benetton heart and a f*ckin’ David Duke cock.” To really hammer the insensitivity home, he also used the n-word.
During a 2011 Twitter war with actor and TV host Nick Cannon, Handler posted a stereotypical photo of a can of grape soda and demanded that Cannon drink it.
Before meeting fellow NBA star Yao Ming in 2003, Shaq said, “Tell Yao Ming, Ching chong-yang-wah-ah-soh.”
In a series of Tweets posted in 2011, Baldwin mentioned Kanye West and Jay-Z’s song “N*ggas in Paris,” which set off a firestorm of backlash against the “30 Rock” star.
An excerpt from Neil Strauss’s book Everyone Loves You When You’re Dead, Paris Hilton was quoted as saying, “I can’t stand black guys. I would never touch one. It’s gross.”
The film critic made headlines for a 2011 post on Twitter about the story of Huckleberry Finn. Ebert Tweeted, “I’d rather be called a N***** than a Slave.”
The singer posted a racist photo directed towards Chris Brown’s Vietnamese girlfriend, Karrueche Tran, that referred to her as “rice cakes.” There was also a line on the remix track “Birthday Cake” (a duet recorded by Rihanna and Brown) that alluded to Tran’s race.
The crude standup comedian sent out a Tweet after the devastating 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan that offended the Japanese and the Jews. Gottfried Tweeted, “What do Japanese Jews love to eat? Hebrew National Tsunami.”
Back in 2010, the hip-hop superstar allegedly banned “white people” into the VIP section at his Brit Awards after-party in London.
Duane Lee Chapman
In 2007, Duane “Dog the Bounty Hunter” Chapman made several racist slurs during an angry voicemail rant to his son (whose girlfriend at the time was black).
Disney tween princess Miley Cyrus apologized for participating in a controversial group photo by pulling at the corner of her eyes to make them slanted, commonly associated with mocking Asians.
The electronic music DJ angered many people with a Tweet about a Jay-Z and Kanye West lyric, to which he implied that adding more black women in the MoMA would turn the museum into “the new hood.”
The Caucasian rapper Tweeted in 2009 that he was “hanging out with nappy headed hoes.”
Frustrated with his stalled career in 2009, the rapper went off on his record label and called them “crackaz” and “CRACKERS,” and accused them of watering down his music and who ruined his “music dream.”
A photograph taken in 2004 of Sandra Bullock’s ex-husband Jesse James showed him doing a Nazi salute while wearing a Nazi hat.
Like fellow former Disney star Miley Cyrus, Joe Jonas of the Jonas Brothers was caught making slanted eyes in a photo that surfaced in 2009.
During a nasty Twitter war with Power 105.1 DJ Charlamange the God, Tila Tequila fired off several racial epithets against the African American community.
Before a 2011 match with former WBA light welterweight champ Amir Khan, the boxer Tweeted a racial low blow by calling his opponent “CurryKingKhan” and hoping he would “choke on his Samosa.”
The Caucasian female rapper denied posting Tweets in 2012 that said, “Sometimes I wish slavery was still goin’ on” and “I don’t need black fans anyway. Y’all don’t buy albums.” Kreayshawn said her Twitter was hacked and sent out the half-hearted (and still offensive) apology the following morning, “I am sorry, I LOVE FRIED CHICKEN!”
The Minnesota Timberwolves player Tweeted a photo of his teammate Kevin Love along with the caption: “Ok, he doesn’t look like a Mexican anymore but I think he looks even worst…Here is our superstar.”