CNN — Movie star and singer Harry Connick Jr. made waves around the world by condemning, on air, an Australian television skit featuring a group of performers who wore blackface to impersonate the late pop star Michael Jackson and his brothers.
Harry Connick Jr. was visibly dismayed after watching an insensitive skit performance on an Australian show.
Connick was one of the judges on the program, a special edition of the Australian variety show “Hey Hey It’s Saturday,” which aired Wednesday.
“If they turned up looking like that in the United States,” he said, frowning, “Hey, hey, there’s no more show.”
The show’s host, longtime Australian TV presenter Daryl Somers, may have compounded the problem by twice referring to the performers as “boys” — a historically derogatory way of talking to or about black men.
Somers later apologized on air to Connick.
“It didn’t occur to me until later — I think we may have offended you with that and I deeply apologize on behalf of all of us,” he said. “Because I know, your countrymen, it’s an insult to have a blackface routine.”
Connick replied that he would not have appeared on the show if he had known about the routine in advance.
In a message posted on his Web site, Connick wrote that “in the American culture, the blackface image is steeped in a negative history and considered offensive.”
Here’s the video for those who care to see it for yourself:
I was mildly outraged until this morning I heard the song “Say, Say, Say” from 1983 with Paul McCartney on the radio, and it occurred to me — Michael Jackson started first!
Here’s the screengrabs:
And, again, here’s the video to refresh your memory on the tune. It’s about 2/3rds of the way through.
I’m just sayin’ here. Say, Say, Sayin’ . . .