All right. Now we're in the Top 10. The top ten pre Dr. Laura racial oopsies of the rock era.
10. Doug ”The Greaseman” Tracht
There are funny comments. There are misunderstood comments. And then there are just plain stupid ones. In 1998 James Byrd, a black man, was dragged behind a pickup truck by two white supremacists and then murdered. In February 1999, after playing a Lauryn Hill song, disc jockey Tracht said, "And they wonder why we drag them behind trucks." That pretty much ruined whatever career the Greaseman had going for him, and authorities had to check the back of Tracht’s own truck for scratch marks.
9. ”Dog the Bounty Hunter” Duane Chapman
After serving 18 months in prison for first degree murder, it shouldn’t have surprised anyone, I suppose, that Chapman later somehow landed a television show. Nor should it have surprised anyone that he would tell his son he couldn’t bring his black girlfriend to the house because, well, the family uses the N-word a little freely. A phone conversation between Chapman and his son about this very topic was recorded and released to the public. A&E cancelled the ”Dog the Bounty Hunter” program soon after, and Dog later claimed he wanted to be buried next to slaves. A group of African-American gathered around him with shovels, and Dog said, ”I meant after I die.”
8. Rob Blair
This is a particularly jovial one. Las Vegas weatherman Blair was giving one of his typical forecasts in January of 2005. He told viewers on KTNV Channel 13 what the weather was going to be for the Martin Luther King Jr. weekend. Only it didn’t come out that way. Somehow, perhaps combining the words ”King” and ”Junior” (It can happen), Blair referred to the assassinated civil rights leader as ”Martin Luther Coon.” Woo-wee. Blair was fired before the sports segment even came on. Dr. King could not be reached for comment.
Mike Greenberg of ESPN would later steal Blair's bit.
7. Senator Trent Lott
Senator Lott just wanted to say something nice about his old friend Strom Thurmond. But in December 2002, some people thought what he said what perhaps a little bit racist. ”I want to say this about my state,” Lott said. ”When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We're proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn't have had all these problems over all these years, either.” Maybe he meant that Thurmond might have been killing terrorists one by one with his bare hands. But it sure sounded a lot like, ”We wouldn’t have all these high-falutin’ darkies like we’ve had since.”
6. Ted Danson
Roasts are supposed to be absolutely brutal, with extreme putdowns, and sexual and racial jokes. But prior to Comedy Central’s roasts, the public had pretty much only seen the old Dean Martin ones, if any. So in 1993 when the world got wind that television’s Ted Danson appeared at a Friar’s Club roast of Whoopi Goldberg in blackface, well, he received more press attention than even when he was on Cheers. Like with Amos & Andy before him, this led to his television show Becker, about a doctor who performs surgeries in blackface.