The comedian apologizes to any who took offense but stands by his on-stage remarks, which were perceived as xenophobic
Comedian Katt Williams defended remarks he made to a Mexican member of his audience last week that were perceived as xenophobic, telling CNN on Saturday that while he apologizes to anyone who perceived them as hateful to the Mexican-American community, he would not apologize for the comments he made on stage.
"I meant what I said and I said what I meant," Williams said.
Williams stressed that as a comedian he cannot apologize for a performance, drawing a sharp line between what is said on stage and his true feelings.
He added “that’s for the Tracy Morgans of the world,” in reference to Morgan apologizing for anti-gay remarks he made during a stand-up show in Nashville.
Williams had initially apologized – or so everyone thought. Instead, Williams said that was an apology written by his publicist and not his own.
The controversy began when a video was posted online of Williams yelling at an audience member who Williams claims incited the argument by insulting the United States.
Williams soon said to the man, “No this ain’t Mexico. It used to be Mexico [expletive] and now it’s Phoenix.”
At various points in the outburst, Williams began chants of “USA! USA! USA!,” which some activists perceived as insulting but Williams defended as patriotism.
"I don't think I need to apologize for being pro-American," Williams said.
These were but a few in a series of comments that activists took offense to, including, "Do you remember when white people used to say 'Go back to Africa,' and we'd have to tell them we don't want to? So if you love Mexico, (expletive), get the (expletive) over there!"
Williams was quick to express his appreciation of his Mexican fans, noting that they were a key part of his success.
"I couldn’t be anti-Mexican. My Mexican fan base is largely responsible or me even existing," Williams said. "Between them and the black community, it's really all I have."
This incident is the latest in a string of public controversies for the comedian.
Just last week he was kicked out of a Young Jeezy concert for his role a brawl, and in June he was arrested for threatening a potential witness after a bizarre stand-off with a tractor driver.