Comedian Artie Lange crossed the not-at-all-fine line between “funny” and “completely distasteful, derogatory and absolutely vile” while tweeting about ESPN personality Cari Champion, who hosts First Take on ESPN2. (The NSFW messages can be viewed below.)
In a statement, ESPN said, “His comments were reprehensible and no one should be subjected to such hateful language. They objectify and demean one of our valued employees under the thin guise of ‘comedy’ and are offensive to all of us. We will not dignify them with any other comment.”
The 47-year-old has since deleted the offensive messages and “apologized.”
“I’m about to tweet a few things I can’t believe have to be explained in a rational world. I observed that [Cari] was a gorgeous lady,” he wrote.
“This observation came while I was watching one of my favorite TV shows, ESPN’s First Take. I also noticed she was black. I then thought I would be funny to tweet JOKES about that observation. A decision which might be the end of modern comedy. I tweeted jokes that in the past I would’ve said in privately in my own home among friends. I know black women who could join me and handle it.
“I won’t debate if the tweets were funny. That could take minutes of precious time left in my career. The issue is do they warrant an apology. Tricky question. I would rather load trucks for a living then [sic] ever apologize to one of these awful PC groups ruining the country.
“So that’s a NO but if it upsets the lady in question that’s another story. Let me say to [Cari] if this hurt u in any way I’m sorry. I’m a comedian. Sometimes I’m funny! For the record my moms disgusted [with] the tweets. But if I based my humor on my mom I’d be broke.”
We’ve included some of the “jokes” in question below, but be warned — they’re extremely offensive.