Steve Harvey is no stranger to on-air gaffes, though his latest one has irked a lot of people.
The “Family Feud” host, who has made headlines for announcing the wrong Miss Universe winner and sending a memo to his employees instructing them to not look him in the eyes, found himself in hot water after mocking the plight of a city beleaguered with severe water crisis that has left scores of people with dangerously high levels of lead in their systems.
During a segment on “The Steve Harvey Morning Show” radio program, a caller who claimed to be a resident of Flint, Michigan, mocked the Cleveland Cavaliers for losing the NBA championship to the Golden State Warriors. The man apparently said, “Cleveland don’t deserve jack.”
Harvey, who is an avid Cavaliers fan, naturally took offense and fired a cheap shot.
“You from Flint?” the host asked. “That’s why y’all ain’t even got clean water. When was the last time you touched water and it didn’t have lead in it?”
Although Harvey’s co-hosts sounded offended and told him to “reel it in,” the comedian refused to back down — because a petty sports rivalry trumps scores of poisoned children and adults.
“One more thing… Enjoy your nice brown glass of water,” he quipped.
The Flint water crisis is still a very real threat to the residents of the city and is definitely not something to take lightly or joke about.
Shortly after the audio clip went viral, Flint Mayor Karen Weaver released a letter addressing Harvey, calling for an apology.
Flint Mayor Weaver calls for a public apology from Steve Harvey. See her letter here. pic.twitter.com/rADXaWHB3p— William A Harris (@BillHarrisTV) June 15, 2017
The reaction on social media was swift.
The floor is Steve Harvey's opinions on the Flint Water Crisis pic.twitter.com/bkseseyqtr— Matthew A. Cherry (@MatthewACherry) June 15, 2017
If Bernie Mac were alive to hear Steve Harvey say what he just said... pic.twitter.com/01dQuwMtZy— MT (@MasterTainment) June 16, 2017
I really used to like Steve Harvey but the joke about the Flint water crisis was not cool ??! Shame on you ! #SteveHarvey .— GBaby? (@PrettyGWilson) June 15, 2017
Steve Harvey owes the entire town of Flint Michigan an apology due to his insensitive remarks referencing the water crisis they're suffering— ?? Christopher Zullo (@ChrisJZullo) June 16, 2017
Someone described Steve Harvey as an opportunist and a joke and I didn't realize those were the perfect words until now.— shyleen. (@shyleenshawn) June 15, 2017
Meanwhile, Harvey released a statement asserting he was just “trash talking about sports" and "any attempts to craft this into anything more serves no one.”
“This morning callers and I were cracking jokes about the Cleveland Cavaliers loss to the Golden State Warriors. I'm a huge Cavs fan. The caller and I were talking trash about our teams and cities,” he said. “I made a joke directed at him, as he is from Flint, a city for which I have great affection and respect. So much so that I devoted a full hour on my daytime talk show to raising awareness for the Flint water crisis. I also pressed then-candidate Hilary Clinton to offer solutions to what I called one of the great catastrophes of modern times.”
As the Uproxx pointed out, Harvey’s tasteless comment came a day after Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Nick Lyon was charged with involuntary manslaughter for his handling of the crisis.
Thumbnail Credits: Reuters