Comedian Steve Harvey is being criticized after comments he made about the Flint water crisis on his morning radio show this week.
MLive reported that Harvey was speaking to a caller who said he was from Flint, Michigan, and told the radio host, who is a fan of the Cleveland Cavaliers, that his team didn’t “deserve jack.”
The call came on Tuesday morning, after the Cavaliers lost game five of the NBA Finals to the Golden State Warriors.
The Detroit Free Press reported that Harvey allegedly responded, “You from Flint? … 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?”
A Facebook video posted on Tuesday by Marques Moore shows a user recording the interview after the caller made the remark about Harvey’s team and Harvey’s comments after.
The caller, who identified himself as “D from Flint town,” was still on the call as Harvey’s co-host Shirley Strawberry apologized on his behalf after urging Harvey to apologize.
“Go ahead and apologize, Steve,” Strawberry said.
“Apologize for what?” Harvey said.
“What you just said,” Strawberry said.
“I wasn’t talking about the city of Flint,” Harvey said. “I was talking about him.”
Strawberry and another co-host, Carla Ferrell, appear to laugh uncomfortably.
“He gone call in and say Cleveland don’t deserve jack and he over there bathing in all that silver water,” Harvey continued.
“Hey,” Strawberry said. “We’re moving on. We really are.”
The co-hosts realized the caller was still on the line and Harvey got one last dig in.
“Enjoy your nice brown glass of water.”
The comment did not sit well with many Flint residents, who expressed their thoughts on social media.
Little Miss Flint herself, Amariyanna “Mari” Copeny, called out Harvey on Twitter.
“Hey @IAmSteveHarvey remember me? Yea (sic), the little Flint girl…please dont make water crisis jokes,” she wrote.
Mari appeared on Harvey’s talk show last year in June.
WEYI reported that Harvey said in a statement that the remark was a joke and part of trash talk about sports.
“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 (sic) 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.”
Despite the statement, Dr. Karen Weaver, mayor of Flint, called for an apology.
“I was deeply saddened by your comments about our city,” she said. “While I feel it was not meant to be an intentional hurt or insult against the citizens of this community, it was. …
“To make a joke out of a tragedy such as this was in very poor taste, especially coming from someone of your stature. …
“As Mayor, I would appreciate, on behalf of the citizens of this community, a public apology.”