Maybe CNBC “Squawk Box” host Joe Kernen should look for a guest-starring role on the new sitcom “Dads.” He might be right at home on the Fox sitcom that has been criticized for racist jokes, given that he couldn’t let a mention of the Indian rupee pass without mocking Indians.
On Friday’s episode, Kernen and his co-hosts, Becky Quick and Andrew Ross Sorkin, were discussing exchange rates across various foreign currencies. Quick mentioned that she had a few rupees in her wallet, left from a recent trip to the country. She showed them off to Sorkin and Kernen.
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“Look at Gandhi!” Sorkin said, referring to Mahatma Gandhi, one of India’s most revered people. He led a peaceful protest to help the country obtain independence from the United Kingdom in 1947, and was assassinated the following year.
“Gandhi’s on the rupee. Look at that!” Sorkin marveled.
“Gandhi! Gandhi!” Kernen said in a mock Indian accent.
“No, I can’t make any jokes about that,” Kernen said. “I can’t do it. I was gonna say something.”
“You can’t. Please don’t. Let’s go,” Quick said.
“I really can’t?” Kernen asked.
“No, you can’t,” Quick said.
Kernen then paused for a second and seemingly considered his options before going with:
“Are they good at 7-Eleven?”
A clearly annoyed Quick told him to stop. Kernen said people “say that all the time,” to which Sorkin defended him by saying that yes, “they do say that all the time,” so apparently it’s OK.
“It’s insulting,” Quick muttered.
“I apologize, before I have to,” Kernen said.
CNBC sent TheWrap this statement on behalf of Kernen: “Last Friday, I made an inappropriate and insensitive remark on Squawk Box. I apologize for any offense it caused.”
CNBC did not respond to requests for comment on whether or not Kernen would be penalized.
Watch the video, via Media Matters: