Steve Harvey has come under fire for a joke about the Flint water crisis on his morning radio talk show on Wednesday.
Harvey took a call on the “The Steve Harvey Morning Show” in which he discussed the Cleveland Cavaliers’ loss to the Golden State Warriors in the NBA finals. During the call, Harvey brought up the caller’s hometown of Flint, Michigan and its contaminated water.
“You from Flint?” Harvey asked, according to the Detroit Free Press. “That’s why y’all ain’t even got clean water. When was the last time you touched water and it didn’t have lead in it?”
“I wasn’t talking about the city of Flint, I was talking about him,” Harvey reportedly said later in the call. “He going to call in, say Cleveland don’t deserve jack, and he over there bathing in all that silver water.” Before ending the call, the comedian took one more shot: “Enjoy your nice brown glass of water.”
Flint Mayor Karen Weaver sent a letter to Harvey demanding an apology for the joke. In the letter (below), Weaver says the joke was “in very poor taste.” She also offers to “sit and discuss” the progress the town has made to address the water contamination issue.
In a statement to Michigan’s NBC-25 on Wednesday, Harvey defended the statement as “simply trash talking about sports,” adding that he has “great affection and respect” for the city of Flint.
Read Harvey’s full statement:
“This morning callers and I were cracking jokes about the Cleveland Cavaliers loss to the Golden State Warriors. I’m a huge Cavs fan.
The caller and I were talking trash about our teams and cities. ‘SIMPLY TRASH TALKING ABOUT SPORTS’.
I made a joke directed at him, as he is from Flint, a city for which I have great affection and respect.
So much so that I devoted a full hour on my daytime talk show to raising awareness for the Flint water crisis.
I also pressed then candidate, Hilary Clinton, to offer solutions to what I called one of the great catastrophes of modern times.
The and the caller laughed as my joke was taken in the context it was offered.
Any attempts to craft this into anything more serves no one.”
Read the letter from Weaver:
“As Mayor of the City of Flint, and someone who has been on your show and spoken with you personally about the Flint Water Crisis, I was deeply saddened by your comments about our city. While I feel it was not meant to be an intentional hurt or insult against the citizens of this community, it was.
We are still going through many hardships and challenges caused by the poisoning of our city. To make a joke out of a tragedy such as this was in very poor taste, especially coming from someone of your stature.
While we are making progress in replacing lead tainted service lines, we still have to use filters and remain on bottled water. As Mayor, I would appreciate, on behalf of the citizens of this community, a public apology. I would love to sit and discuss with you the status of where we are today.”