Even though actor and comedian Steve Martin apologized on his website for one of his tweets that were called racist, he also used his statement to call out media outlets that wrongly quoted his tweet.
Martin’s original tweet, posted on Dec. 20, responded to a follower asking “Is this how you spell lasonia?” Martin wrote: “It depends. Are you in an African-American neighborhood or at an Italian restaurant?”
However, Martin noted that TMZ, Salon and Twitchy.com all misquoted his tweet. The three outlets said Martin tweeted (emphasis ours): “It depends. Are you in an African-American restaurant or at an Italian restaurant?”
As Martin explained, that misquote of his tweet “implies that an African American restaurant can’t spell ‘lasagna’ on the menu.” At the time of Martin’s apology, only Twitchy.com admitted the misquote.
Martin apologized for his “irresponsible” comment and having “crossed a line” in trying a poor joke out on Twitter. He explained what went wrong and admitted responsibility:
“Comedy is treacherous. I used to try out jokes in clubs and the audience’s feedback would tell me when I had crossed a line, or how to shape a joke so it is clear. Today, the process is faster. It’s your brain, a button, then millions of reactions. But it’s my job to know.”
Twitchy’s apology for the misquotation reads:
“The original version of this post stated that Martin’s tweet denigrated the spelling ability of people who live in African American neighborhoods. A more likely explanation is that he was referencing the tendency of some African Americans to use names that include the prefix ‘La.’ If we misinterpreted his joke (and we think we probably did), we apologize.”
Salon has since published a note at the top of its article admitting the error. It reads: “An earlier version of this story misquoted the tweet.” That note is not labeled a correction and not published on Salon’s corrections column.
TMZ has not published a correction but did fix the misquote. iMediaEthics is writing to TMZ asking if it will also run a correction.