German star accused of racism

BERLIN — Harald Juhnke, one of Germany’s most popular entertainers, may face charges in the U.S. and at home after making racist remarks while on his way to Las Vegas last week to tape a program for German pay TV web Premiere.

Frustrated after discovering that he was only there to moderate a documentary on Las Vegas and not to host a gala show, Juhnke, 67, apparently drank one vodka too many. The production company Akzente Film, which was shooting the docu for Premiere, captured Juhnke on video while he verbally assaulted an African-American security guard. Using a racist epithet, Juhnke told the guard that he would have been gassed under Hitler. Witnesses verified that Juhnke also physically assaulted his son Oliver and a female tourist, who is reportedly planning to press charges against the entertainer.

Juhnke is notorious in Germany for his alcoholic excesses, but the Berlin entertainer may have gone too far this time. Juhnke, currently in the Dominican Republic to shoot the series “Clinic Under the Palms” for pubcaster ARD, claims he can’t remember what happened, and denied being racist.

“If I have offended anyone, then I am deeply sorry and apologize,” said Juhnke in a statement over the weekend.

Juhnke’s apologies don’t appear to satisfy the German public, however. ARD halted the filming of “Clinic Under the Palms” on Monday.

Calling the actor’s previous statements “insufficient,” ARD programming director Guenter Struve said that shooting would not continue until Juhnke had made proper amends to the injured parties for his behavior.

While refusing to release the video tape of the Las Vegas incident, Premiere programming director Andreas Wrede said that the station would not work with Juhnke again until he made a more thorough apology.

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