George Takei apologises for calling Supreme Court Justice a ‘clown in blackface’
Star Trek actor George Takei has apologised, after referring to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas as a “clown in blackface”.
Justice Thomas was one of the four Justices to dissent against the highest court in the US when it ruled that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right – despite his own interracial marriage once also being illegal.
Following the ruling, George Takei – who has a huge following on social media – accused Justice Thomas of “abandoning his African American heritage” by citing slavery in his dissent, branding him “a clown in blackface sitting on the the Supreme Court”.
After controversy over the remarks, Mr Takei has posted a lengthy apology.
He wrote in part: “I owe an apology. On the eve of this Independence Day, I have a renewed sense of what this country stands for, and how I personally could help achieve it.
“The promise of equality and freedom is one that all of us have to work for, at all times.
“I know this as a survivor of the Japanese American internment, which each day drives me only to strive harder to help fulfill that promise for future generations.
He continued: “I recently was asked by a reporter about Justice Clarence Thomas’s dissent in the marriage equality cases, in which he wrote words that really got under my skin, by suggesting that the government cannot take away human dignity through slavery, or though internment.
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“In my mind that suggested that this meant he felt the government therefore shouldn’t be held accountable, or should do nothing in the face of gross violations of dignity.
“When asked by a reporter about the opinion, I was still seething, and I referred to him as a ‘clown in blackface’ to suggest that he had abdicated and abandoned his heritage.
“This was not intended to be racist, but rather to evoke a history of racism in the theatrical arts. While I continue to vehemently disagree with Justice Thomas, the words I chose, said in the heat of anger, were not carefully considered.
The actor added: “I am reminded, especially on this July 4th holiday, that though we have the freedom to speak our minds, we must use that freedom judiciously.
“Each of us, as humans, have hot-button topics that can set us off, and Justice Thomas had hit mine, that is clear.
“But my choice of words was regrettable, not because I do not believe Justice Thomas is deeply wrong, but because they were ad hominem and uncivil, and for that I am sorry.”