A pair of co-stars of Fox’s “9-1-1” procedural are at opposite ends of a debate surrounding the use of racial slurs.
Ryan Guzman, who plays firefighter Eddie Diaz on the show, came under fire Sunday after taking to Instagram Live to defend both himself and his fiancée, Brazilian actress Chrysti Ane, for using racial slurs. Soon after, his co-star Oliver Stark, who plays Evan Buckley, weighed in to oppose Guzman’s remarks, saying, “there is no excuse for the use of the N-word.”
Guzman and Ane first came under fire in May when some of Ane’s tweets from 2011 resurfaced in which she used the N-word. She has since apologized, but added that at the time she was in a relationship with a man of color and “felt accepted by the black community,” which lead her to feel comfortable using the slur.
“At the time none of my friends found it offensive, but I must say I didn’t fully comprehend the WEIGHT of the word,” she wrote.
In Guzman’s Instagram Live video from Sunday, he justified their use of racial slurs by saying that he and his friends of different ethnicities “call each other slurs all the time.”
“I have plenty of friends — Black, white, Asian, Indian, whatever they are, Korean — and we make fun of each other’s races all the time. We call each other slurs all the time. We don’t get butthurt at all because we know the actual person, we know who each other are. We know that we’re not trying to bring each other down. So, what are y’all trying to get at? You’re trying to prove that somebody that’s not racist is racist? Nah. You don’t have that power. There is no racist energy coming from this household at all,” he said in the Live, a portion of which can still be viewed here.
Several of his followers commented on the video with disapproval, leading Guzman to later tweet, “I’m done with defending myself or my family to people who are as quick to judge as they are to condemn. Let me get back to the real topic and help out any way I can to the black community,” he said along with links to resources to donate and support the Black Lives Matter movement.
Following Guzman’s tweet, Stark took to Twitter to address his co-star’s comments.
“I know a lot of you want to hear my thoughts on what a cast member said today on IG live. I can tell you that my opinion is there is absolutely no excuse for the use of the N-word. It belongs to the Black community only and I absolutely don’t agree with it being used by anyone else under any circumstances,” he wrote in a thread.
Reps for “9-1-1” and Fox did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.
The debate comes amid global protests against police brutality and systemic racism, triggered by the death of George Floyd, a black man who died on Memorial day as a result of excessive force used by the Minneapolis police officer who pressed his knee to Floyd’s neck while arresting him.