Most people saw Billy Crystal’s tribute to Robin Williams at this years Emmy Awards ceremony as a touching goodbye to a good friend and a very funny and talented man. The operative word is “most.” Some thought it was a racist affront to Muslims.
At issue is a clip taken from Robin Williams’ 2001 appearance on “Inside the Actors Studio” considered by many as the best episode in that shows 25-year-long history.
The clip generating complaints is a short snippet from that show during which Williams borrows a pink scarf from an audience member in the front row and wraps its round his head to simulate a hijab, and says “I would like to welcome you to Iran… help me!” He then moves the scarf down to his shoulders and begins to act like a Jewish cantor.
The Iranian part of the clip drew criticism on Twitter:
The person putting together the Robin Williams segment for the Emmys decided to use his racist material.
— Hannah Story (@hannahmstory) August 26, 2014
they could’ve shown so many funny robin williams moments during that tribute did they have to use something so racist — (@nialIhs) August 26, 2014
I’m still so shocked that the #Emmys would include such a racist bit in Robin Williams tribute. Out of all his great work, really?
— Ava (@haltiamava) August 26, 2014
Like, now I just think Robin Williams was kind of racist? Thanks Emmys. — J. Escobedo Shepherd (@jawnita) August 26, 2014
I love Robin Williams but he really had some not ok racist jokes and they even put it in the tribute tonight
— Nikki (@sweatydudette) August 26, 2014
Really, people? Racist? It’s time for some people to get a life. A short clip where Robin Williams makes fun of living in oppressive Iran? It is called funny. The clip below is the full improvised scarf routine. In it, he poles fun at Indians, Jews, gays, Japanese, Hispanics, and the Amish as well as Iranians. Those who complain about the clip being racist are full of camel dung. It would have been racist if Williams had left out the Iranians.
Cross-posted at The Lid