‘Seinfeld” co-star Michael Richards made headlines last week as word spread of the racist tirade he had unleashed at two African American audience members during a recent Los Angeles comedy club gig.
But just as the story was beginning to fade, new reports surfaced alleging that Richards had spewed antisemitic comments at a different club earlier in the year. According to witnesses, Richards yelled anti-Jewish vitriol toward an audience member, saying: “You’re a f***|ing Jew. Your people are the cause of Jesus dying.”
As the list of offended and outraged minorities grew, Richards hired damage-control guru Howard Rubenstein to do some much-needed triage. But then, events took an even stranger turn.
Arguing that Richards is Jewish, Rubenstein — whose public relations firm lists such clients as the Metropolitan Opera and the New York Yankees — confirmed for the New York Post that while Richards had made the antisemitic remarks in question, he is no antisemite.
“He is Jewish and he said, ‘I’m absolutely not anti-Semitic,’” the Post quoted Rubenstein as having said. “He acknowledged that he said those things. He said that he was role-playing and playing a character. He said, ‘There is no way I’m anti-Jewish.’”
Trouble is, Richards, in fact, is not Jewish. An article published last week in the Los Angeles Jewish Journal quoted an unnamed television director as saying that the actor was raised Catholic and is “very involved in the Masons.”
Faced with evidence that Richards is not Jewish, Rubenstein hedged.
“He said to me he has adopted the Jewish religion as his belief, but he wasn’t born Jewish,” Rubenstein said, adding that while Richards does not practice Judaism, he has had some “Jewish advisers” in the past.
Like who? Jerry Seinfeld?
This story "Flak: Richards Not a Jew, Just Jew-ish" was written by Dan Levin.