So 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 Robocop, Jackson 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.
“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.