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George Takei, the Japanese-American actor best known for his role as Hikaru Sulu on Star Trek, has apologized for referring to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas as “a clown in blackface,” CNN reports.
Takei, who is openly gay, was furious about Thomas’ dissent to the Court’s decision to legalize same-sex marriage in all 50 states.
“He is a clown in blackface sitting on the Supreme Court,” Takei said. “He gets me that angry. He doesn’t belong there.”
“For him to say slaves have dignity, I mean, doesn’t he know that slaves were in chains? That they were whipped on the back?” Takei continue. “My parents lost everything that they worked for in the middle of their lives, in their 30s. His business, my father’s business, our home, our freedom and we’re supposed to call that dignified?… This man does not belong on the Supreme Court. He is an embarrassment. He is a disgrace to America.”
After some right-wingers accused him of “liberal racism,” Takei took to his Facebook page to apologize for the comments:
“I recently was asked by a reporter about Justice Clarence Thomas’s dissent in the marriage equality cases, in which he wrote words that really got under my skin, by suggesting that the government cannot take away human dignity through slavery, or though internment. In my mind that suggested that this meant he felt the government therefore shouldn’t be held accountable, or should do nothing in the face of gross violations of dignity. When asked by a reporter about the opinion, I was still seething, and I referred to him as a “clown in blackface” to suggest that he had abdicated and abandoned his heritage. This was not intended to be racist, but rather to evoke a history of racism in the theatrical arts. While I continue to vehemently disagree with Justice Thomas, the words I chose, said in the heat of anger, were not carefully considered.