• Tue, Feb 11 - 1:38 pm ET

Turns Out Samuel L. Jackson Was Actually Wrong To Call Out That ‘Racist’ Reporter

Samuel L. Jackson wrongly accusing Sam Rubin of confusing him with Laurence Fishburne KTLA news February 2014So you know how Samuel L. Jackson went off a reporter the other day because he thought the guy had mistaken him for Laurence Fishburne? Everyone was really excited about calling the guy out for being racist…but as it turns out, the reporter was totally in the right. The only mistake he really made was in apologizing.

Let me explain. During a live interview with CNN affiliate KTLA, entertainment reporter Sam Rubin asked Samuel L. Jackson what the reaction had been to his Super Bowl commercial. Normal question, but Jackson pulled a face and responded, “What Super Bowl commercial?” causing the reporter to look confusedly off camera, and giving Jackson the opportunity to launch into a rant:

“You’re as crazy as the people on Twitter. I’m not Laurence Fishburne! We don’t all look alike. We may be all black and famous, but we all don’t look alike. You’re busted. You’re the entertainment reporter for this station and you don’t know the difference between me and Laurence Fishburne? That must be a very short line for your job outside there.

But wait, there’s more. Even as Rubin tried to change the topic back toward the movie RobocopJackson was saying:

“I’m the other guy. There’s more than one black guy doing a commercial. I’m the ‘What’s in your wallet?’ black guy. He’s the car black guy. Morgan Freeman is the other credit card black guy. You only hear his voice, though, so you probably won’t confuse him with Laurence Fishburne. I have actually never done a McDonalds or Kentucky Fried Chicken commercial. I know that’s surprising.”

During all of this, Rubin kept apologizing and saying he was guilty, and even slapped his face at one point, but HERE’S THE THING. Jackson actually did appear in a Super Bowl commercial, so Rubin wasn’t confused after all — just stunned into apologizing when he came under fire from Jackson.

The commercial was for the Captain America movie, and you can tell it’s what Rubin meant to reference because he prefaced his question with ‘So you’ve been working with Marvel…’ He even makes that clear in his more formal apology, which he issued half an hour after the interview aired:

“I indicated to Samuel that I’d seen him during the Super Bowl, and he thought that I had confused him with the commercial Laurence Fishburne had done for a car company. Of course a ‘Captain America’ ad had also run during the Super Bowl, but I immediately felt so dumb, I didn’t bring that up — and he gave me the shellacking that was well deserved. I pride myself on the fact — that unlike a lot of people who do this kind of work — more often than not, I really do know what I’m talking about. But I didn’t 30 minutes ago, and I’m really embarrassed about it, and I very much apologize to Samuel L. Jackson and anyone else who was offended for what was a very amateur mistake.”

I think it’s great that Rubin apologized, especially since he took full responsibility for the miscommunication, but this whole situation really was avoidable. Samuel L. Jackson was so ready to yell at someone for being racially ignorant that he yelled at poor sweet Tom Cruise. Or whichever white guy that was who looks exactly like him.

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  • Elizabeth Aspen

    He didn’t need to go on for ten minutes, I mean, grow up Sam L.

    • Alexis Rhiannon

      Yeah, it was a little much.

    • Harley M. Gentry

      …If the guy would’ve come back fast and said “Captain America” Jackson wouldn’t have went off like he did. He was justified.

      They were talking about Robocop, and then the reporter asked him about a commercial (Robocop didn’t air during the super bowl), without stating WHICH commercial so he threw Sam Jackson off and the first thing that came to Jackson’s mind was Laurence Fishburne and felt offended.

      You realize movies are filmed over a year before they’re actually released right? There’s a chance Jackson was not at ALL thinking about Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

      So, he was justified – and he was light-hearted about it. Smiling and laughing the whole time, I think he was just cracking a joke that he drug out too far. This website just over-exaggerated Jackson’s reaction.

  • Ria

    A black performer (sorry, can’t recall who) once mistook Miley for Gwen Stefani…it happens with all races.

    • Alexis Rhiannon

      But he didn’t even mistake him for Laurence Fishburne! Samuel L. Jackson just assumed he did!

    • elle

      Woah I hadn’t watched that video until now just read the articles about it but you are right! He never did! Jackson owes Rubin an apology.

    • Alexis Rhiannon

      He absolutely does. He was just soooo ready to rail at him.

    • Harley M. Gentry

      Fishburne was the only other A-List actor whose commercial aired during the super bowl, so that’s clearly where his mind went.

  • Kathy

    I think Sam Jackson is a very talented actor. But he does have a tendency to take a heavy attitude and maybe put his foot in his mouth once in awhile. He could have been a little more gracious towards the reporter, but he wasn’t. Now he owes the reporter an apology but I bet he’ll never offer it.

  • Misenhammer

    Yeah that video made me cringe so hard, and I generally love watching Samuel L punk a fool down– when its deserved.It was obvious to me that Rubin was deeply embarrassed and trying really hard to make amends and Sam L was just not gonna let him. Now that I know he wasn’t even wrong, I really feel for the guy.

    • Alexis Rhiannon

      I know…I’m really hoping SLJ apologizes.

  • DragropeJustice

    Never apologize to a negro. It just encourages them.

  • Pingback: A Reporter’s Innocent Mistake or Racial Negligence? | heatherkilby's Blog

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  • Sloven

    This article is wrong, the anchor person screwed up clearly, watch the video. If he meant another commercial he would have said so, the Kia commercial was bigger, you barely notice Jackson in Cap Amer 2. (the anchor clearly was trying to back step n got help to justify himself),,,,30min later… No hour?. Although I agree Samuel went on a bit much, it was insulting the guy specifically instead of insulting everyone or the situation , instead of saying so and moving on. yes this happens with a lot of other actors regardless of sex/shade of skin . But it happens way too often for him I guess. (Dany Glover is another actor he forgot to mention). To me it’s like watching an animated movie and trying to place the face to voice and screwing up. I confused Madonna with Angelina Jolie! But I would never confused Samuel with Lawrence, or Morgan visually, but I have when try to remember their names…. Eg it’s not Samuel Jackson, but the other actor in… But I do that with Robert Redford n some other white guy, jimmy Fallon n the guy from how I met your mother, Seth green n guy from the bundy’s. Or blond singers….I confused the whole Baldwin family. Janet n Micheal, ok too far, used too,,,,serious I can’t believe I care…

    • Alexis Rhiannon

      I disagree with you, I think the anchor knew what he was talking about and was understandably thrown off when Samuel responded so aggressively.

    • Harley M. Gentry

      He clearly didn’t know what he was talking about though lol If he did, his first reaction would’ve been “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”.

      Jackson gave him a pretty generous pause to answer, it was his hesitation to answer that offended Jackson because it made the reporter, CLEARLY, wonder if he was talking to the guy he thought appeared in a commercial.

      If the reporter KNEW, he would have said “Captain America” and that would’ve been it.

    • Alexis Rhiannon

      But Samuel was the one who was acting like he didn’t have a commercial. Don’t you think that would be confusing for a reporter?

    • Harley M. Gentry

      He wasn’t “acting” though. Robocop did not air during the Super Bowl the movie he was on this show to talk about. He was off-set from The Winter Soldier for over a year when he did this show, there was literally no reason for his mind to assume this guy was talking about The Winter Soldier.

      He wasn’t acting. Producers don’t notify actors that a commercial is airing during the Super Bowl and clearly Mr. Jackson didn’t watch the Super Bowl. So without the knowledge that Cap 2′s trailer aired, and taking into consideration that he was talking about RoboCop (whose trailer did not air during the Super Bowl), I think we could reach the consensus that he was justified when ALL the details are taken into consideration.

    • yourstupidharley

      We all know the only reason you’re going to these lengths to try to defend him is because he’s black. He was wrong. Although this may be hard for you to comprehend, black people are responsible for their actions. Grow up and deal with it, asshole.

  • Bob

    There are many actors that speak English better than Sam, that are more talented and educated than Sam, and that have done serious Shakespearean acting and that are yet less successful than Sam. I wonder why that is.

    • Alexis Rhiannon

      Not sure what you’re getting at.

    • Bob

      I am thinking that if Sam were a blue eyed blonde he would not have become this famous even if everything else about him had been the same (level of intelligence, acting skills, etc)

  • Bob

    I wonder if the interviewer ever made a mistake when a blue eyed blonde was the subject. It is possible that he is just not that good no matter who the subject is. Some people would have handled him in a more human and compassionate way, without eagerly making a gigantic leap to the conclusion that he is a racist. He may or may not be one. Too many low class slobs are ready to assume racism just because it appears that there is a possibility that it is there. Others tend to look for solid airtight evidence before we judge our fellow man.

  • Bob

    People make mistakes. It doesn’t prove that they are racists just because a protected group is involved. The same interviewer has probably mistaken a lowly member of the majority for someone else.